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ACT Seeks Answers On Missing Tainui Millions

ACT Leader Richard Prebble said today he would be raising with Te Puni Kokiri the issue of the squandering of Tainui's settlement, when the Maori Affairs select committee examines the 1998/98 financial review of Te Puni Kokiri/Ministry of Maori Development on 24 February.

"Te Puni Kokiri's Departmental Forecast Report states that it has responsibility for monitoring and evaluating government policy on Treaty issues. In particular the Ministry states that it will provide early warning and options for resolution to the government," Mr Prebble said.

"The Ministry states that it will promote dialogue between the Treaty partners by 'assisting the development of efficient, effective and appropriate strategies'; that the Department will also '…actively encourage a collaborative approach to the fair and durable settlement of claims by providing advice which clarifies the interests of the Treaty partner in particular and publishing a set of guidelines mandating processes for the claimants…'; it will '…develop a strong constituency for the principles of good governance among Maori communities', and '…provide early warnings and options of issues and risks, including litigation likely to have a significant impact on the Crowns relationship with iwi, hapu & Maori.'"

Mr Prebble said it is well established law that if you pay money to someone for the benefit of a second person, when you knew or ought to have known that the first person was reckless, and if the money doesn't each the second person, you could be held liable to pay again.

"It appears to me that the Crown is at risk of having to pay some or all of the $173 million Tainui settlement again if the Crown did not enquire as to Tainui's capacity to handle this large sum of money for the benefit of the thousands of Tainui beneficiaries.

It will be interesting to see whether Te Puni Kokiri has been discharging its obligations to Maori who are Tainui beneficiaries who have seen at least 16% of their Treaty settlement flushed down the drain.

ends

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