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Over 20 Years To Settle Treaty Claims

Over 20 Years To Settle Treaty Claims Say Officials

Officials assessments that outstanding Treaty of Waitangi claims will take over 20 years to settle have been described as 'outrageous' by National MP Murray McCully.

"It is deeply worrying that the Government appears unconcerned about claims remaining unresolved for that length of time.

Mr McCully says the Secretary of Justice and senior Office of Treaty Settlements officials told the Maori Affairs Select Committee late last year that at the current pace of settlements, historical Treaty claims would take over 20 years to resolve. He and other Committee members have asked officials for further advice on the resources required to secure settlements much more quickly.

"Officials have no immediate response to that question and this indicates the total lack of urgency of those officials and their Minister Margaret Wilson. They appear quite content that a select group of New Zealanders in the grievance industry are feasting on substantial fees while the country faces the prospect of having the first quarter of this century dominated by historical Treaty issues.

"We should be setting a target of resolving these claims in four or five years, not 20 to 25 years.

"New Zealanders want to see these matters dealt with, and dealt with quickly. They understand that we are not going to make very much progress as a country if we are continually looking backwards at historical grievances.

Mr McCully says he will be using the Select Committee process this year to force officials to be quite specific about what additional resources are required in which agencies in order to achieve a much faster timetable.

Ends

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