21 Feb 2013

Cabinet comes up with cash for stranded tribunal hearings

9:48 am on 21 February 2013

The Government has stepped in to ensure a series of significant Waitangi Tribunal hearings in Northland can start on time.

From the middle of next month, an inquiry will hear nearly 400 Treaty claims in Northland.

The tribunal says the Te Paparahi o Te Raki regional inquiry is unlike any other it's carried out.

The hearings have been in jeopardy after the Crown Forestry Rental Trust did not come through with funding - something the claimants, their lawyers and the Tribunal had expected.

While the money might still be made available, the Cabinet has in the meantime agreed that the Crown should fund two of the eight weeks of the hearings.

The tribunal is thanking the Crown for its help but warns that because long-term funding for the hearings has not yet been confirmed it might have to re-plan and re-budget for the rest of the inquiry.

About 390 claims have been brought largely by Ngapuhi, Ngati Whatua, Ngati Wai, Ngati Hine, Patuharakeke, Ngati Rehua and Ngati Manuhiri.