8 Jun 2015

Land proposal misses Treaty mechanism - iwi

6:41 am on 8 June 2015

Waikato-Tainui is disappointed at a Government proposal to circumvent the Right of First Refusal (RFR) mechanism within Treaty of Waitangi settlements in order to sell 500 hectares of Auckland land to developers.

The chair of its Te Arataura tribal executive committee, Rahui Papa, said the iwi had the same concerns held by Ngāti Whātua and Ngāi Tahu.

He said the iwi had written to Minister of Housing Nick Smith requesting that he "affirm the Right of First Refusal" process will apply for Crown land being developed and sold in Auckland.

Mr Papa said Waikato-Tainui territory extended into the Auckland region where it held strong interests.

"The intention to circumvent the RFR mechanism undermines the intention and integrity of the Waikato Raupatu Claims Settlement Act 1995 and damages the Crown relationship with Waikato-Tainui," said Mr Papa.

"The RFR process was established as a way in which Waikato-Tainui could buy back land that had been confiscated.

"In total, 1.2 million acres was taken and a paltry two percent returned.

"Clearly the RFR mechanism is an important and fundamental element of the settlement."

He said Waikato-Tainui had settled its Treaty claim in good faith 20 years ago and had since honoured its obligations.

The tribe expected the Government to do the same and was seeking clarification from Minister Smith of the Government's intentions before considering further action.

In the meantime, Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei has sought advice on the legality of the Crown's intention to sell the land.

Deputy Chairperson Ngarimu Blair said it was disappointing that the Crown did not engage with the hapū directly, prior to announcing the plan to release the land, which has been earmarked for housing purposes.