BNZ offers funding to help Treaty claims

RICHARD MEADOWS
Last updated 12:05 29/11/2013

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BNZ is putting up $50 million of funding to help iwi unlock an estimated $1.5 billion worth of Treaty of Waitangi claims.

The bank's new facility is designed to help bridge funding shortfalls in the costly legal process.

Head of Maori business, Pierre Tohe, said there were delays of three to seven years between mandate and final settlement of claims.

"Many iwi can't afford the ongoing costs of the process, meaning many settlements are delayed or deferred," he said.

Tohe said about half of iwi had received a Treaty settlement, but there were more than 60 claimants remaining.

"There is a need for funding assistance and good financial advice to help get them through the settlement process, as well as advice on the best way to manage those funds and assets for the long term," he said.

The whole country stood to gain if iwi were successful in contributing to the economy, as well as increasing the health, wellbeing and education of their people, Tohe said.

"Maori are a growing economic force with an estimated $37 billion in assets, a growing population and the appetite to invest in long-term sustainable growth projects in New Zealand," he said.

BNZ has released a white paper on portfolio management, intended to help Maori organisations balance the distribution of benefits with income and wealth creation.

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