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Progress in Treaty Settlement Negotiations

Thursday, 24 January 2002 Media Statement

More Progress in Treaty Settlement Negotiations than Ever Before

The signing of a Deed of Settlement with Ngati Tama of Taranaki worth $14.5 million in December 2001 brought to three the number of comprehensive Treaty settlements concluded by the government in the past year. This follows settlements with Te Uri o Hau ($15.6 million) and Ngati Ruanui ($41 million), which were the first settlements in Northland and Taranaki respectively.

"The achievement of these three comprehensive settlements constitutes more progress in terms of signed Deeds of Settlement achieved in one year than ever before" said the Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, the Hon Margaret Wilson.

"This compares very favourably with the record of the previous National and Coalition governments in terms of comprehensive land settlements, who throughout the entire 1990s achieved only substantial settlements with Waikato-Tainui and Ngai Tahu, and three relatively small settlements of between $5 million and $10 million with Ngati Whakaue, Ngati Turangitukua and Pouakani" said the Minister.

The Minister acknowledges that recent progress builds on the work of previous governments, and that Te Uri o Hau, Ngati Ruanui and Ngati Tama had each signed Heads of Agreement in 1999. These agreements, however, only established the broad parameters of a settlement package, with substantial work still being required to negotiate the detail of the settlement, review post-settlement governance arrangements, resolve any outstanding mandate and cross- claim issues, and have the settlement ratified by the claimant community.

"The reality is that it normally takes at least three years in most cases for a settlement to be agreed and ratified" said the Minister.

The high level of settlement activity is likely to continue in 2002. For example:

- Deeds of Settlement are near completion with Ngati Awa ($42.3 million) and Tuwharetoa ki Kawerau ($10.5 million), with the main outstanding issues being the resolution of cross-claims. These will be the first Bay of Plenty and significant North Island forest settlements.

- Excellent progress is being made with Nga Rauru of Taranaki and Te Aupouri of the Far North, both of whom have signed Terms of Negotiation with the government and are committed to reaching Deeds of Settlement before the end of the year.

- Negotiations have commenced with Te Arawa over their lakes claim and are about to begin with Whanganui over their river claim.

- Settlement legislation has been introduced to give effect to the Te Uri o Hau settlement and is currently being prepared for Ngati Ruanui and Ngati Tama.

"The government is committed to fulfilling its undertaking to achieve the fair, final and durable settlement of well-founded historical Treaty claims in a timely manner" said the Minister. "While it usually takes time to get these things right, we are demonstrating that good progress can and is being made. This is expected to continue in 2002".


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