Iwi groups disappointed Govt cancels final settlement readings

By Talisa Kupenga
  • North Island: West Coast
  • Wellington

Three iwi groups are angry and upset that the third reading of their Historical Treaty Settlement Bills will not go ahead at Parliament this week. Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa, and Taranaki iwi believe they have been stonewalled by the actions of NZ First, who refused to attend the passing of the bills this Friday.

Three tribes scheduled for the final readings of their historic treaty settlement bills this Friday say they have been hung out to dry by politics with news of their cancellation.

Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa chair Liana Poutu says, “Schedule a time, one that suits Parliament, a day it will stick to and we know it will show up for.

The Office of Treaty Settlements advised Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa, and Taranaki iwi that a 'technical matter' raised by NZ First meant it was unsure if the final readings would go ahead. Last night, the groups were notified that the readings had been cancelled.

“We are heartbroken. Between the three iwi, we had arranged five buses for the trip.”

NZ First pulled its support after National requested an informal variation to the proxy, meaning more than 25% of their MPs could be absent from the readings.

NZ First MP Ron mark told Te Kāea, “Why? Because they have gone and given their members and their Ministers leave to go home early. Now that's not our doing, that's their doing and by calling a Party Vote it embarrasses them because their numbers get exposed. Which is interesting because if these bills are so seriously important and of such significance to them and if so many Māori from so many iwi are travelling so far to be here why the hell isn't the Government here."

Otaraua Hapū chair David Doorbar says, “Having half a dozen MPs in the house when any bill is passing is disrespectful especially if you're talking about historical grievances.”

With few sitting weeks remaining this year, it may not be possible to pass all these settlements this year but the iwi hopes another date will be scheduled soon.

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