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Treaty blunder averted at the 11th hour

Treaty blunder averted at the 11th hour

The Government's business naivety has been exposed by the embarrassing delay in the signing of the Final Deed of Settlement with North Island iwi Ngati Awa, according to National Party Forestry spokesman Brian Connell.

His comments follow the Government decision to put off the signing, which would have given control of the private roading network in Kaingaroa forests to Ngati Awa.

"The move could have had an impact across the $1.2 billion Kaingaroa forestry," Mr Connell says.

"I find it incredible the Government failed to see this quite obvious intrusion into private property rights until the commercial and social implications were explained.

"If the deal had gone through, it would have left the interested forestry companies exposed to a wave of roading tools and charges," says Mr Connell.

"It's a measure of Labour's business ineptitude that it neglected to set a cap on access charges as a part of the settlement.

"I note that Ngati Awa are disappointed at the delay and I can understand this, they should be laying blame at the feet of the Government," Mr Connell says.

"Private property rights are a cornerstone of our society and a principle the National Party holds deeply.

"By delaying the signing, the Minister has brought breathing space in which to broker a face-saving deal - a deal which should have been ironed out long before now," Mr Connell says.

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