12 Aug 2018

Ngāpuhi hui: 'People ... want to see progress' - Andrew Little

10:00 am on 12 August 2018

There's been mixed reactions so far from the series of hui with Ngāpuhi this weekend, the Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little says.

Cabinet MP Andrew Little addressing the public meeting in New Plymouth last night.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little (file photo). Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

Mr Little has been updating hapū on progress towards a new structure that could represent them in settlement negotiations.

He has already held four hui with two more to go today.

Mr Little said people liked the idea of hapū having a central role to play but there was controversy about the Ngāpuhi-wide level negotiations.

"Some people came and delivered set piece speeches which really haven't understood the proposal, but look that happens in these things and you get a bit of ... drama," Mr Little said.

"But certainly talking to people after the formal parts of the hui, there's a lot of people who do want to see progress and be constructive about it."

On Friday, he urged Whangarei hapū to consider what he called an evolved mandate plan for the sake of their people.

"Generation after generation has suffered and the suffering in west Auckland and South Auckland and other places too," said Mr Little.

"We never get to deal with that and we never get to talk about it because we just don't want to make a decision.

"I am saying, let's start now."

The convenor of that hui at Otangarei marae, Huhana Lyndon, applauded Mr Little's spirited defence of the Crown's efforts to resolve the mandate row.

"The fact that he was challenged to front and he stood and he took the challenge, which Ngāpuhi loved," she said.

"Bring your emotion, bring your heart and show us that you're a real person and that's what I think everyone valued at the hui."

But she said Whangarei hapū were angry at the short notice and lack of information.

The new mandate proposal still posits a single entity to hold the iwi's commercial settlement and that was a problem, Ms Lyndon said.

Mr Little said the proposal for how the Ngāpuhi representative structure would look like was still in its early stages.

But he hoped to have it in place to start negotiations with the Crown in November.

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