1 Feb 2011

Iwi say Government pushing for settlements

9:07 am on 1 February 2011

Some iwi say they are being bullied by the Government to conclude their Treaty claims early.

There have been 13 Treaty settlements since the National Party was elected to government in 2008, almost the same number completed during the Labour Party's nine years in power.

Iwi from the Far North and the top of the South Island say they have faced intense pressure from the Government to settle their claims.

Professor Margaret Mutu, the chief negotiator for Ngati Kahu in the Far North, says the Crown just wants to get rid of troublesome claims.

"The purpose for the Government of settling these claims is to extinguish them and get rid of them," she says.

"The purpose for settling these claims for Maori is to right the wrongs that were done."

However Ngati Porou, which concluded its deed of settlement in December, says it did not face any pressure from the Crown.

Ngati Porou says it was the one putting pressure on the Crown to ensure it got a fair settlement.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson told Morning Report the idea the Government is press-ganging the iwi into settling with the Crown is totally wrong.

He says the notion the Government is trying to "get rid of" the claims is also nonsense.

Mr Finlayson says the Muriwhenua claim in which Professor Mutu is involved was started in 1986, an agreement in principle was signed in 2010, and other iwi are getting anxious about moving on to a deed of settlement.

He says the Government's goal of completing all Treaty settlements by 2014 is an aspirational one.