'Conflict of interest' in land law submissions

9:33 am on 15 October 2015

The Crown is trying to block submissions by Māori Land Court judges against proposed changes to land laws from being used by the Waitangi Tribunal.

The judges have been critical of the government's proposed changes to the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act, saying they could not go ahead in their current form.

On Monday, Crown Law told the tribunal it needed time to form an argument to stop the Māori Land Court judges' submission from being used in the tribunal's hearing.

It said there was a conflict of interest and apparent bias, in that the land court judges also sit on panels that the tribunal members sit on.

There were issues of constitutional sensitivity and it would also be inappropriate for counsel to cross-examine judges, it said.

The Crown wants until Friday to make its case to not have the material placed on the record of inquiry.

The tribunal will hold the urgent hearing in November, and the new legislation is expected to be introduced to parliament early next year.

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