Topic: Treaty Settlements

Hauraki Mayor urges Finlayson to settle Hauraki iwi claims

By Mere McLean

The Hauraki District Mayor is urging Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson to get on with settling the Hauraki Iwi Collectives Treaty claims.

It follows after negotiations were stalled after some iwi in the collective filed litigation in the Waitangi Tribunal.

The Hauraki plains are rich with productive soil.  But Hauraki District Mayor John Tregidga says the return of this land to 12 iwi in the Hauraki Collectives Treaty Settlement has been stalled by Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson.

Tregidga says, “Minister come on, look there's a lot of goodwill here.  Let's get the treaty settlements back on track, let's get this resolve.”

The mayor says negotiations were almost complete.  But in a statement to the Hauraki Iwi Collective Minister Finlayson said five of the iwi of Hauraki have filed litigation in the Waitangi Tribunal.

He says the Crown does not negotiate with iwi at the same time they are litigating against the Crown.  This has required iwi-specific and collective negotiations to be paused.

Liane Ngamare says, “There was a provision in the Tauranga Moana co-governance redress that we consider prejudice Hauraki and pretty much redden our proposed representation of that collective on that co-governance redress in effect.”

The Hauraki Iwi Collective have been in negotiations with the Crown over their settlement since 2009.  But the mayor says the minister has refused to negotiate since December last year while litigation is before the Tribunal.

Tregidga says, “You know we are suffering here in the rural community around employment.  I believe this has the opportunity also of adding value and giving jobs.”

John Tregidga says when the settlement is complete the Hauraki Iwi Collective will be the council's largest landowner and largest ratepayer.

Meanwhile Minister Finlayson has offered to meet with the mayor to provide an update on progress with Hauraki's negotiations.