Maori treaty settlements in the top of the South Island are an "awesome" opportunity for the whole community to benefit from extra investment and jobs, Ngai Tahu leader Sir Mark Solomon says.
Sir Mark told a Marlborough Chamber of Commerce meeting in Blenheim yesterday that Maori in the top of the South Island were about to get a cash boost of $200 million. They wanted to work in partnership with Ngai Tahu and other South Island iwi, and with the wider community to be successful, he said.
Yesterday morning, before Sir Mark spoke, Parliament sat extended hours to pass the second reading of the Te Tau Ihu Claims Settlement Bill. It was expected to be passed into law in the middle of next month.
The Te Tau Ihu Claims Settlement Bill is an omnibus bill to enact eight historical Treaty of Waitangi claims of Ngati Apa ki te Ra To, Ngati Kuia, Rangitane o Wairau, Ngati Koata, Ngati Rarua, Ngati Tama ki Te Tau Ihu, Te Atiawa o Te Waka-a-Maui and Ngati Toa Rangatira.
Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson said extended sitting hours could be used to progress settlement bills and other non-controversial legislation. It had also been agreed to allow it to go straight to third reading.
"It is a credit to the parties and members across this House that they have supported this innovative approach to enable settling iwi to receive the benefits of settlements in a more timely fashion," Mr Finlayson said.
Sir Mark said the bill's passing would usher in a new post-settlement era for all the tribes of the South Island.
"This is fantastic news for the region. Potentially millions of dollars will be injected into the economies of Marlborough, Picton, and the broader region as iwi seek to wisely invest their settlements, support their people and communities."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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