26 May 2011

Iwi disputes Maori privilege claims

12:53 pm on 26 May 2011

A spokesperson for the Waikato iwi Raukawa has criticised some former MPs and people in Auckland's more affluent suburbs for claiming Maori are receiving privileged treatment.

The Minister of Treaty Settlements, Chris Finlayson, and other MPs visited the Raukawa area on Wednesday to discuss the tribe's Treaty negotiations.

In a speech to the MPs, Raukawa Charitable Trust chair George Rangitutea said political hopefuls like Don Brash and Winston Peters believe Maori attempts at justice through the Treaty settlement process should be concluded as quickly and as cheaply as possible, if at all.

Mr Rangitutea says he would like to visit the Auckland suburbs of Epsom and Remuera where the accusations of privilege seem to be the loudest.

The Raukawa Settlement Trust chairman, Chris McKenzie, said settlement negotiations often seem driven by a desire to minimise compensation to iwi.

Mr McKenzie says the reality of the hurt and suffering suffered by Maori during land confiscations is lost in the sterile offices of the negotiation rooms.