The Ngātiwai Trust Board’s urgent hearing application into the “Hauraki Settlements” was filed with the Waitangi Tribunal and served on the Crown on Monday, 24th July 2017. The Crown responded to the application on 6th October 2017. In summary the Crown’s response is the Board’s application for urgency, more specifically:
- The process the Crown has followed in dealing with overlapping claims has been fair, robust and in accordance with its overlapping claims process, whilst being Treaty compliant. The Crown say that although Ngātiwai is not satisfied with the outcome, they have no basis for challenging the process;
- Ngātiwai has not provided any information as to how the urgency criteria apply to each of the various Treaty settlements or redress deeds from which prejudice is said to arise;
- Ngātiwai is unlikely to suffer prejudice because the redress is:
- not exclusive redress; or
- not within the Ngātiwai area of interest; or
- is exclusive redress that does not prevent the Crown from providing redress to settle the claims of other iwi such as Ngātiwai in the same area.
OVERLAPPING CLAIMS ENGAGEMENT
Hauraki Iwi Settlements
Despite the Board’s best efforts, there has been no progress with the Crown in establishing hui to discuss the disputed redress as offered to Hauraki. The Board sent a letter to the then Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Chris Finlayson, in August 2017 including a letter to the then Prime Minister, Bill English, in early October 2017 seeking facilitation of a tikanga-based process to resolve the disputed redress, however no response has been received.
With the new Government now in place, the Board is pleased with the appointment of Andrew Little as the new Treaty Negotiations Minister. With Mr Little’s background, we believe that he will take a positive and fair approach to negotiations. The Board are very optimistic that Mr Little and new Attorney-General, David Parker, will provide a fresh approach to how they handle Treaty Settlements and overlapping claims. We look forward to working with them both over the next three years.
Ngāti Whātua Settlement
The Board received a letter from the Crown on 31st August 2017 setting out the proposed redress for Ngāti Whātua and the timeframes for overlapping claims engagement, with written feedback due to the Crown by 13th October 2017.
On 4th October 2017 the Board responded to the Crown that from its experience in dealing with the Crown’s overlapping claim process to date (i.e. the Hauraki and Marutūāhu experience), the process has not worked and consequently the Board would not engage in such a process again.
Instead the Board made direct contact with Ngāti Whātua to discuss and work through any issues together. Since then two very constructive hui have occurred with more to follow.