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5 August 1996
The Ministry of Agriculture has put in perspective accounts of what is claimed to be a “leaked MAF report” on leased Maori land in Taranaki.
Larry Fergusson, Group Director for MAF Policy, says that what seems to be referred to is an extract from an early draft of an independent consultant's report to MAF Policy on farmers' and lessees' perceptions of what the impact may be of legislation proposed in late 1995. "At this stage, there is no MAF report on the West Coast settlement reserve leases," said Mr Fergusson.
MAF Policy has a programme of work aimed at understanding the extent of impacts of returning agricultural land to Maori ownership and management. As part of this national programme, a report was commissioned from an independent contractor on the issues relating to the West Coast leases, and the possible implications, if any, of proposed legislation on the management of, and the output from, agricultural land.
As part of this work programme an independent contractor to MAF Policy surveyed the views of 17 lessees in November 1995 on the then proposed legislation.
We assume that it is this information which has been extrapolated and has been reported as being a MAF report. It is in fact a small part of the information in a draft report to us, said Mr Fergusson.
MAF has not undertaken any analysis of this, or any other data, and therefore has no basis on which to make any assessment of the impact of the proposed legislation on land values.