Morgan: Treaty figure too low

ELTON SMALLMAN
Last updated 05:00 20/12/2012
Tukoroirangi Morgan
Head-to-head: Tukoroirangi Morgan wants to take on the Crown over the tribe’s relativity payment.

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One of Tainui's powerbrokers is preparing to take on the Government over the relativity clause in Waikato-Tainui's 1995 Treaty settlement, saying the figure is too low.

Tukoroirangi Morgan said the tribe will accept the Crown-calculated $70 million cash payment but are disputing the amount.

He said the tribe has a strong case to demand a significantly larger sum but would not disclose the amount.

The Waikato Times understands the disputed amount could be in excess of $120 million.

Both Waikato-Tainui and South Island tribe Ngai Tahu have a relativity clause in their settlements allowing the iwi to seek further redress should the value of all Treaty settlements exceed $1 billion based on 1994 present value.

"Te Kauhanganui, the tribal parliament, accepted the recommendation to trigger the relativity negotiations with the Crown by accepting the first-up payment," Mr Morgan said. "And then we will be going head-to-head in formal talks with the Crown in relation to the disputed amount of money."

A spokesman for Minister of Treaty Settlements Chris Finlayson said the Crown considers the amount payable to Waikato-Tainui is $70 million and the iwi have had the opportunity to query the calculation.

"All parties are committed to strictly honouring the contractual terms, which have been well known since the deeds were signed, in good faith," the spokesman said. A difference in legal interpretation over the assessment of the relativity figure would be resolved by "an independent third party".

The relativity agreement allows Waikato-Tainui to collect further payments to the tune of 17% of the total value of settlements and will continue until all historical grievances are settled.

"After exercising this right for the first time, they can require the next payment in five years' time."

Waikato-Tainui will go into negotiations with the Crown in the new year and Mr Morgan wants to be at the helm.

He said it is a big task and has set his ambition to be chair of Te Kauhanganui aside to seek the role of the tribes lead negotiator.

"The chair of Te Kauhanganui is a hugely important position . . . that is not where my skill base is.

" I will not stand and seek the chair of the tribal parliament Te Kauhanganui," he said

The relativity clause was activated in June when settlements passed the $1 billion mark in 1994 present value.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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