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Minister Proposes New Strategy To Muriwhenua

Hon Margaret Wilson
Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations

Media Statement

23 June 2000


MINISTER PROPOSES NEW STRATEGY TO MURIWHENUA

The Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Margaret Wilson, today met with representatives from the two broad groupings in Muriwhenua: iwi organisations affiliated with the Negotiations Management Committee, and those aligned with the Treaty Claims Alliance.

The meeting aimed to build on previous positive meetings the Minister has held with Muriwhenua representatives and to reiterate that it is a priority for the Government to address Treaty issues in the Far North.

After listening to frustrations about lack of progress and considering the views of the different groups in Muriwhenua, the Minister has agreed that no more time be lost in entering into dialogue on Treaty matters. The Minister’s proposal is that the Crown puts aside the mandate issues that have been dividing Muriwhenua for so long, and begins pre-negotiation talks with all Muriwhenua groups.

The purpose of the pre-negotiation discussions will be to ascertain the settlement aspirations of all the members these groups represent and to enable the Crown to develop the broad parameters of a settlement offer. The process would involve, if necessary, parallel meetings with the two key groups, and is intended to serve as a basis for entering into formal negotiations at a later stage.

The Minister expects to personally attend some of these meetings, and will be kept closely informed of progress from a Crown team comprised of officials from the Office of Treaty Settlements, the Department of Conservation, the Ministry of Fisheries and Treasury.

The Minister shares the fervent desire of the people of Muriwhenua to find a way to make progress in the settlement of Treaty claims in the Far North, and to do so as soon as possible. However, the Government may only develop a fair settlement offer if it has listened to the settlement aspirations of all representative groups. The Minister’s proposal will provide the best opportunity to do so.

ENDS

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