Waitangi Tribunal criticises Crown for outside negotiations

12:33 pm on 18 April 2018

The Waitangi Tribunal has accused the Crown of unfairly negotiating the Whakatōhea Treaty settlement with a group not backed by the whole iwi.

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Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Five hapū of the eastern Bay of Plenty iwi last year withdrew their support for the mandated Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust, but the Crown kept negotiating with the trust.

The tribunal said the Crown prioritised its political objective of concluding all iwi settlements by 2020, over a process that was fair to Whakatōhea.

The Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little denied the Crown had been rushing settlements.

"There are people who don't think it is particularly satisfactory but in the end for the sake of finality, for the sake of good faith of those who are prepared to reach agreements, sometimes you have to make a judgement call that this is the best way forward.

He said everyone, including iwi, wanted a conclusion to treaty settlements.