13 Oct 2012

Tribunal rejects Ngati Kahu challenge to settlements

10:23 pm on 13 October 2012

The Waitangi Tribunal has rejected an attempt by Ngati Kahu to challenge three Treaty settlements in the Far North.

Ngati Kahu asked the Tribunal for urgent hearings, claiming the Crown had failed to recognise Ngati Kahu interests in land the Government is about to return to Te Rarawa, Te Aupouri and Ngai Takoto.

But the tribunal has refused.

It says Ngati Kahu's three neighbouring tribes are on the cusp of settling their Treaty claims after years of hearings and negotiations, with assets worth $75 million at stake.

The tribunal says granting urgency to Ngati Kahu would delay that process and risk prejudice to the iwi who want to settle.

Ngati Kahu abandoned negotiations with the Crown two years ago, and recently asked the tribunal to order the return of Crown property.

The tribunal says Ngati Kahu has reasonable alternatives to challenging its neighbours: they include waiting for the outcome of a remedies hearing - or resuming negotiations.