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English to meet Ngapuhi factions

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/06/2017

Prime Minister Bill English is meeting differing factions from Ngapuhi in a bid to move the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process along.

The meeting is being held when he returns from Samoa on Saturday, a spokesman from his office says.

Ngapuhi are New Zealand's largest iwi and one of its poorest.

The need for settlement to restore a land base and create an economic platform for the future is urgent, a previous Waitangi Tribunal report said.

Yet the very size and complexity of Ngapuhi means that representing their interests has been difficult, and the challenge to the Crown has been to ensure that it is dealing with the right people, in the right way.

In 2015, 15 claimants challenged the Crown's recognition of the Tuhoronuku Independent Mandated Authority (the Tuhoronuku IMA) as having a mandate to enter negotiations to settle the historical claims of all Ngapuhi.

In a report, the Waitangi Tribunal found that the Crown had not pre-determined its decision to recognise the mandate secured by the Tuhoronuku IMA.

Mr English is due to meet with the representatives of the conflicting factions - Tuhoronuku and Te Kotahitanga - at Auckland Airport when he arrives back from Samoa, the NZ Herald reports.

The iwi have been on notice since last September that their settlement could be put on hold if they cannot agree on a group to negotiate for them.

Waikato Tainui settled its Treaty claims in 1995 for $170 million and 20 years later its commercial arm Tainui Group Holdings had assets worth at $1.2 billion.

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