Topic: NZ Māori Council

New Zealand Māori Council welcomes Waitangi Tribunal report

By Te Kāea

New Zealand Māori Council co-chair, Maanu Paul has welcomed the Waitangi Tribunal report which has upheld the Māori Council's claim that the Government was wrong in removing Māori Council authority over Māori Wardens.

The report found the Crown had breached the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi in its review of the Māori Community Development Act 1962 and its administration of the Māori Wardens Project. 

The Tribunal has also recommended interim measures be incorporated to ensure Māori oversight of the Māori Wardens Project, and a review of the 1962 Act by the New Zealand Māori Council, which should take into account the views of the Māori Wardens nd a broad range of Māori communities.   

Maanu Paul says, "The Māori Council is pleased that the Tribunal has supported the claim that the Government was wrong in how it dealt with this situation, the Māori Council however still has a long road ahead working with lawyers to ensure the findings and recommendations of the Tribunal aren't brushed aside by the Government." 

Māori Development Minister, Te Ururoa Flavell has also acknowledged the need for Māori wardens to find a durable solution to the complex set of issues facing the organisation in its management and administration.

He says, "I acknowledge the Tribunal's report and its findings that the Crown breached the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi through its review of the Māori Community Development Act 1962, and its administration of the Māori Warden's Project. The Tribunal also acknowledged there are ongoing challenges with the implementation of the 52 year law and it should be reviewed,"

In 2013 the Māori Council lodged the claim which included three major components, all relating to the review of the Māori Community Development Act, the founding legislation of both the NZ Māori Council and Māori Wardens.

The first claim referred to the consultation process for the reform of the Māori Council and the Māori Wardens in which the Council claimed the Crown only led process was inconsistent with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, particularly given the significance of both groups to the Māori community.

The Council also claimed the Crown had acted inconsistently with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi by diminishing or excluding the authority of the Māori Council to administer the Māori Wardens.

The third claim referred to the timing of the review which in turn conflicted with its Water claim and the Council claimed it demonstrated a lack of good faith on the Crowns part and again led to confusion within the Māori community as to what role the Māori Council played in leading the Water claim.

Co-leader of the Māori Party, Marama Fox also released a statement today supporting the findings, "The Maori Party appreciates the efforts made by the Waitangi Tribunal to be guided by Treaty principles as well as the Declaration articles, in looking at the workings of the Maori Community Development Act and the administration of the Maori Warden's Project.   We believe such an approach can only enhance the constitutional conversations we must have as Maori and the Crown."