Chris Finlayson meeting Opposition MPs with Ngapuhi influence to get settlement across the line

Chris Finlayson, Minister of Treaty Negotiations, wants the Ngapuhi settlement sorted and is enlisting help from ...
Scott Hammond

Chris Finlayson, Minister of Treaty Negotiations, wants the Ngapuhi settlement sorted and is enlisting help from Opposition MPs.

ANALYSIS: Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson is on the verge of stripping authority from the board set up to settle Ngapuhi's treaty claims and is getting Opposition MPs to help him do it.

Finlayson will meet with MPs with influence in Northland, where the country's biggest iwi hails from, on Tuesday night - the meeting will be the second in the last month.

MPs being called to help get Ngapuhi on one page over settlement negotiations, which Finlayson wants done and dusted by 2020, include Labour's Kelvin Davis and Peeni Henare, NZ First MP Pita Paraone, National's Shane Reti and Green MP David Clendon.

Ngapuhi leader Sonny Tau formerly chaired Tuhoronuku, which looks set to lose its mandate for the iwi's settlement process.
CHRIS HILLOCK/ FAIRFAX NZ

Ngapuhi leader Sonny Tau formerly chaired Tuhoronuku, which looks set to lose its mandate for the iwi's settlement process.

Tuhoronuku, the board set up to settle Ngapuhi's treaty claims, is split over a plan to share power with hapu.

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Tuhoronuku's former chair is discredited Ngapuhi leader Sonny Tau who was caught with five dead protected kereru by the Department of Conservation.

Both sides of the group have been trying to find a consensus since the Waitangi Tribunal found issues with Tuhoronuku's mandate, saying it undermined the right of hapu to choose who spoke for them.

A report titled Maranga Mai, which was written by a working group drawn from Tuhoronuku, its opponents the hapu alliance Te Kotahitanga and the Office of Treaty Settlements proposed a new structure be created, which would give hapu control of the negotiations. 

Te Kotahitanga has adopted the report but Tuhoronuku voted 11 votes to 10 against it despite the break-away group thinking they had the numbers to get it across the line.

Finlayson is prepared to work with the new entity that would be created under the Maranga Mai recommendations if it means getting the settlement process underway.

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To date the Crown has already spent millions of dollars on setting up Tuhoronuku and every day a settlement isn't reached Ngapuhi lose out.

On Tuesday Finlayson said he was waiting to see what came out of discussions between Ngapuhi over coming days and wouldn't comment until he'd received advice from officials.

Chair of Tuhoronuku, Hone Sadler, sent out an open letter to Ngapuhi on Tuesday, which was leaked to media, saying it was positive about bringing parties together as outlined in the Maranga Mai report.

However Sadler said there were still three outstanding issues: the status of urban Maori representation, the status of Kuia and Kaumatua and "the primacy of a unified Ngapuhi Treaty Settlement".

It's understood Te Kotahitanga, which includes Ngati Hine, don't think they're being represented at all under the Tuhoronuku mandate and want it scrapped altogether. They protested the mandate ever being signed.

Ngati Hine, which claims to be the largest hapu of Ngapuhi, have no representation on Tuhoronuku and say that won't change unless the settlement process starts from scratch with a new authority at the helm.

Both Henare and Paraone are Ngati Hine, Davis is Ngati Manu (another Ngapuhi hapu) and both Clendon and Reti have contacts in the north.

 

 - Stuff

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