22 Dec 2010

Tribunal wants oil and gas in Treaty settlements

8:00 pm on 22 December 2010

The Waitangi Tribunal has repeated a call it first made in 2003 for oil and gas resources to be on the table when Treaty settlements are negotiated with iwi.

The tribunal says that the laws to protect Maori interests from petrochemical mining are failing and that change needs to reach beyond oil and gas into the management of all resources.

A tribunal report on management of the petroleum resource says iwi and hapu cannot afford to pay for fighting mining in court, so some royalties should be used to fund their objections.

But it also repeats a 2003 call for oil and gas to be used in Treaty settlements - despite successive governments rejecting this option.

The tribunal also found the Crown has not policed the agencies it uses to regulate petrochemical and other resources.

It wants an independent Treaty commissioner to monitor all agencies delegated by the Crown to fulfil its Treaty obligations, including district and regional councils.

Iwi says it's already being asked

A Taranaki iwi says the Government is already asking about its aspirations over oil and gas.

Ngaruahine's executive chair, Tihi Noble, says the Crown is now asking what the tribes might want.

Mr Noble says the iwi is delighted the tribunal suggested wide-ranging changes in the regulation of all resources - not just oil and gas.

One Taranaki claimant, Daisy Noble, told Waatea News the report has implications not just for Taranaki but for iwi in Taitokerau and Tairawhiti ,which are being opened up for exploration.