13 Nov 2018

Overlapping claims probed at urgent Waitangi inquiry

7:29 pm on 13 November 2018

The government's way of settling overlapping treaty claims will be at the centre of urgent Waitangi Tribunal inquiry.

Minister of Justice Andrew Little talking to media.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Last week, the tribunal agreed to hear six urgent hearing applications about the controversial Hauraki settlement which was signed in August.

An urgent inquiry will focus on the Crown's actions, omissions, polices and practices with respect to the overlapping claims and overlapping claimants on the Hauraki negotiations and deeds of settlement including the Tauranga Moana Framework.

The Pare Hauraki collective settlement was signed in August amid heated and emotional protest outside Parliament.

The successful applications came from iwi groups Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Porou ki Hauraki, Ngātiwai, Ngāti Manuhiri, Ngāti Ranginui and Waikato-Tainui.

Each application alleges the Crown has breached the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi through its overlapping claims policies.

As a result, the applicants say the crown has incorrectly allocated redress to iwi of Hauraki.

The Hauraki Collective deal is worth more than $250 million, to be shared between 12 iwi.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little said the crown would await the findings of the urgency hearing into the Hauraki treaty settlement.

Mr Little said there's still a lot of work to do on individual Hauraki iwi settlements and overlapping treaty claims.

"The crown will do what it's obliged to do which is both prepare for the hearing and also work with Pare Hauraki to try and bring a conclusion to their claims."

Mr Little didn't rule out using tikanga based approach to sort out overlapping treaty settlements.

"Even where there is conflict between iwi and between the crown and other iwi - we have to maintain as best a relationship as we can and that will continue."

Ngāti Porou ki Hauraki chairman John Tamihere said the Waitangi Tribunal has made the right decision in granting urgency hearings on the hotly contested Hauraki treaty settlement

Mr Tamihere said the hearings will give a voice to those iwi protesting the settlement.

"These six iwi which have been succesful in this urgency claim were pushed into the margins and the shadows and actually refused access to a proper negotiation process hence we're in the tribunal now."

Nine other applications for urgency hearings on the matter were dismissed by the Waitangi Tribunal.

No dates have been set yet for the inquiry.