chapter  10
33 Pages

'Settling Maori Land Claims: Legal and Economic Implications of Political and Ideological Contests'

Neo-liberaleconomicsassumesanintrinsicconnectionbetweeneconomicprosperityandthe protectionofpropertyrightsbylaw.Theassumptionthatapositiverelationshipexists betweenstandardisedpropertyrightsandsustainedeconomicgrowthiswidelyheldnotonly inWesternsocietiesbutalsoinFourthWorldnations,inwhichthedispossessionoflandhas becomeametaphorofthedislocationoftheirsocietiesinthecourseofcolonialhistory. Hence,thestruggleofindigenouspeoplestoobtain,orre-obtain,sovereigntywithinthe liberal-democraticwelfarestatesinwhichtheyhavebecomeencapsulatedisoftenfocusedon thereturnofindigenouslandsandnaturalresources.Sovereigntyovertheselandsand resourcesisbelievedtobeaconditiosinequanonforeconomicdevelopmentandfortherise ofindigenouslivingstandards.AustralianAboriginesandNewZealandMaori,forexample, frequentlyarguethatlandrightsandtherecognitionoftheirrightstonaturalresourceswill bringaboutimprovedeconomiccircumstances,reducedfinancialdependencyonstate governments,andtrueself-determination.InthispaperIshallexaminetheempiricalevidence inthecaseoftheNewZealandMaoriforthisideologicalaxiomthattherestitutionof propertyrightstoindigenouspeopleswillresultineconomicprogressandgreater opportunitiesforself-management.