20 Nov 2014

Ngapuhi dispute 'disappointing'

6:50 am on 20 November 2014

Prime Minister John Key says it is disappointing that Ngapuhi are still in dispute over who should settle their Treaty claims.

The Government has accepted that Tuhoronuku, a board led by the iwi's runanga chair Sonny Tau, has a mandate to negotiate with the Crown.

John Key.

Prime Minister John Key. Photo: RNZ / Demelza Leslie

However, many hapu are objecting and the Waitangi Tribunal has agreed to hear their case next month.

Mr Key said the settlement would be a very large one and it would be unfortunate for the iwi if that were held up.

The Prime Minister said an overwhelming group of people gave a mandate to Mr Tau and Tuhoronuku; the Government believed they had a mandate and that was why it was negotiating with them.

John Key said any process through the Waitangi Tribunal would be slow and drawn-out, and would not necessarily have the best outcome for the people of Ngapuhi.

The tribunal is in the midst of hearing the Ngapuhi land claims. It recently found that the opposition to Tuhoronuku is significant and said the Crown's actions have caused serious conflict within the iwi.

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