Treaty deals await Crown decision

DEENA COSTER
Last updated 05:00 23/07/2014

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Iwi voters have endorsed two pending Treaty settlements but will have to wait to find out if the deals get the final go-ahead from the Crown.

Yesterday, in a post on Te Atiawa Iwi Authority's Facebook page, it advised a majority of its registered members had voted yes to its settlement deal, worth $87 million.

The deal, believed to be the fifth biggest in the country, includes cash, a cultural fund worth $985,000 and a chance to buy or acquire more than 100 commercial, residential and industrial properties in North Taranaki.

Te Atiawa's negotiator Peter Moeahu said it was now up to the Crown to consider the results in order for a final decision to be made about whether there was sufficient support for the deal to be signed off as planned on August 9.

Wary about going into details about how many people participated or how many voted for and against the deal, Moeahu said no further comment about the results would be made until the Ministers of Maori Affairs and Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations made a final decision about the settlement's status.

According to Te Atiawa's own ratification document, the public notification of the voting results is scheduled to be completed by the end of this week but it remains unclear if this will happen on time or not.

Ngaruahine's $67.5m deal also has been given the green light by a majority of its registered voters.

Chief negotiator Daisy Noble said from the provisional numbers she had seen to date she was satisfied most of the iwi supported the deal.

She said the final numbers still needed to be approved by the iwi's board before being passed on to OTS but she was hopeful they would be ready to be made public by this Saturday.

OTS director Kevin Kelly said all ratification results needed to go through an official Crown process before they were publicly announced.

"The Crown needs to be satisfied that the results demonstrate sufficient support to proceed to signing a deed of settlement," he said.

Following years of negotiation, both Te Atiawa and Ngaruahine initialled their deeds of settlement at a ceremony on June 4 in Wellington.

Voting for the respective deals by registered iwi members closed last week.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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