29 May 2015

Grounds for an appeal granted to iwi

6:41 am on 29 May 2015

A Bay of Plenty iwi has been given leave to go to the Supreme Court in its bid to stop the sale of farmland by Landcorp.

The Crown-owned company wants to sell Wharere Farms near Pukehina. Ngāti Whakahemo has opposed the sale for some time and went to the High Court.

The court granted an interim injunction, but this was dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

The Supreme Court put the sale on hold while it decided if it wanted to hear an appeal.

It has now given the green light, and will allow an appeal based on the iwi's claim of bad faith shown by Landcorp.

The court found that an error of law by the Office of Treaty Settlements in its advice to Landcorp, and the failure of the shareholding ministers of Landcorp to intervene, were grounds for an appeal.

In the meantime, it has ordered Landcorp not to settle the agreement for sale and purchase of the farm.

The Chair of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whakahemo, Mita Ririnui, said the iwi was very happy to have one last opportunity to put its case.

"We will have to accept it, there are no other options for us. We have picked up the challenge that our ancestors were not able to complete, going back to the beginning of the 20th century," Mr Ririnui said.

"We were obliged to do that, and if it means exhausting all of the resources we have available to us then we would have to do that. This is not about buying farms, this is about rectifying a wrong."

He said the iwi has been denied that from day one.

Mr Ririnui said they believed there had been a substantial miscarriage of justice and this may continue to occur if the matter was not heard properly by the court.

He said the iwi was prepared to sit down with Landcorp and talk about it making a commercial purchase of the farms.

Mr Ririnui said no date had yet been set for the appeal hearing.

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