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Ngapuhi must sort itself out: Key

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 26/09/2016

John Key © AAP / DAVID MOIR John Key Prime Minister John Key says Ngapuhi has to sort out for itself who should represent it in treaty settlement negotiations.

The country's largest iwi has been locked in internal disputes for years and on Friday the latest attempt to reach a consensus failed.

A breakaway group said it would rather have no settlement than have the Ngapuhi board negotiate for it.

According to some estimates, settlement of Ngapuhi's claims could be in the region of $250 million but it can't start negotiating with the government until it decides who speaks for it.

"It's a huge issue for the Far North," Mr Key said at his post-cabinet press conference on Monday.

"The settlement would make a huge difference in what is a pretty poor community ... we would hope they can sort out the mandating issues but it's something that's a little beyond our control."

He said the government hadn't given up hope of finding a way forward and there would be further discussions between Ngapuhi and Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson.

"There's not really a deadline," Mr Key said.

"We can't force an outcome. Ultimately Ngapuhi have to work out among themselves, to a degree, who speaks for them and who is negotiating on their behalf.

"We'll stay engaged for as long as realistically we can hope to get a settlement."

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