21 Jul 2011

Treaty settlements devalue while iwi fight, says MP

9:04 am on 21 July 2011

Northland Labour MP Kelvin Davis is urging Ngāpuhi leaders to settle their differences, and their treaty claims, as soon as possible.

A public forum at Whitiora marae today on Thursday was to hear from the two factions with opposing views on how to manage the claim.

Tūhoronuku, the board set up by the Ngāpuhi rūnanga, wants to seek the mandate to settle with the Crown as soon as possible.

But Te Kōtahitanga, a hapū grouping that includes Ngāti Hine, wants to have all the land claims heard first.

Kelvin Davis says a $170 million settlement is at stake and while the sum won't change it will devalue every year that passes.

He says he would hate to see Ngāpuhi lose millions of dollars because its leaders can't get along.

Mr Davis says at least one other iwi has missed out on buying back the land it wanted because the price went up and their cash settlement devalued while they fought.

Kelvin Davis says he hopes the hui with Government-appointed facilitator Jim Bolger can help the Ngāpuhi factions find common ground.