Te Ture Whenua Mᾱori Reform – When Poor Problem Definition Leads to Illegitimate Policy
63 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2018 Last revised: 13 Jul 2018
Date Written: April 3, 2018
Achieving policy legitimacy is incredibly challenging. One key element includes input legitimacy which includes the early review stages that seek to define the problem the resulting policy will address. The recent proposed reform of the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 demonstrates the importance of problem definition in achieving policy legitimacy. In order to effectively define the problem in this case, an assessment of the Act was required to determine whether the regulatory framework and the Māori Land Court were inhibiting utilisation of Māori land. The Review Panel tasked with undertaking the review of the 1993 Act chose to rely on current research to design a policy that sought to address what it perceived as the barriers to utilisation of land, rather than determine whether the current framework was in fact inhibitory. This choice was the ultimate error and resulted in a policy perceived as illegitimate overall. The Panel effectively ignored history, relied disproportionately on poor quality evidence, and used this evidence incorrectly.
Keywords: Policy, legitimacy, Problem definition, Economic development, Māori land, Te Ture Whenua Māori
JEL Classification: K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation