23 May 2012

Ngati Rangi may be forced to direct negotiations

6:31 am on 23 May 2012

A tribe based at the foot of Tongariro National Park says delays at the Waitangi Tribunal may force the iwi to reluctantly start direct negotiations with the Government. Ngati Rangi would prefer a full tribunal hearing.

But the Waitangi Tribunal says it's overloaded, and is concentrating on clearing an unprecedented

number of urgent claims - at the expense of routine work.

An experienced treaty claims lawyer, Mike Doogan, says there's mounting political pressure to skip tribunal hearings, and settle claims by direct negotiation.

Ngati Rangi Trust pou arahi (manager) Che Wilson, of Ohakune says his tribe's feeling squeezed.

Government official are putting more pressure on the tribunal and the Office of Treaty Settlements to complete key settlements.

Mr Wilson says it may be easier - though frustrating - for his iwi to carry on and not wait for a tribunal report.

Ngati Rangi is considering complaining to the Government about the Waitangi Tribunal delays.