You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Ngapuhi Treaty settlement process disputed

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4/06/2017

Bill English © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Bill English Prime Minister Bill English says the Crown is committed to settling Ngapuhi's Treaty of Waitangi claim but will step back so Ngapuhi can finalise its own decisions about its representation.

He met with leaders from the Tuhoronuku and Te Kotahitanga factions at Auckland Airport on Saturday night when he returned from Samoa.

In a statement on Sunday Te Kotahitanga said Mr English had "given up on Ngapuhi" and the government had turned its back on the iwi.

Mr English said the Crown remained committed to a settlement and confident one could be reached.

"Once Ngapuhi has agreed on a way forward and on who will carry out negotiations on its behalf, those negotiations can progress," he said.

At the meeting the government confirmed its view Ngapuhi alone should decide how it should be represented in Treaty negotiations.

The government offered to fund a mediator if Ngapuhi could decide on who that should be and the process to be followed.

"Otherwise the government will step back from the process so Ngapuhi can finalise its own decisions about its own representation in the Treaty negotiations," Mr English said.

Ngapuhi are New Zealand's largest iwi and one of its poorest. Yet the very size and complexity of Ngapuhi means representing their interests has been difficult.

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.

Te Kotahitanga said Mr English had trampled on the mana of Treaty Settelments Minister Chris Finlayson and the Office of Treaty settlements by removing them from the Ngapuhi settlement process.

But Ngapuhi was closer to a unified path forward than at any stage, Te Kotahitanga said.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon