26 May 2014

Govt blunders in Ngapuhi deal - Peters

9:05 pm on 26 May 2014

The way the Government has dealt with Ngapuhi over its treaty claims has pushed settlement further out of reach, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson said he did not expect to reach a deal with Ngapuhi this year, because of divisions over the mandate to do so.

Mr Peters said from the moment the Ngapuhi runanga set about seeking a mandate to manage the negotiations, it was opposed by the Hokianga hapu and Ngati Hine.

Arguments at that level demonstrated there was something wrong with the Government's negotiating criteria, given the size of areas in the north and populations there.

The Crown had put undue pressure Ngapuhi to settle and had insulted the iwi by sending an outsider, Tukoroirangi Morgan, to mediate in the mandate dispute, he said.

However, Mr Finlayson said Mr Morgan's input was helpful.

It was clear the Ngapuhi settlement would take longer than expected, and he had no intention of rushing it, he said.