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Ngati Tama Claims Settlement Bill first reading

Ngati Tama Claims Settlement Bill first reading

The Ngati Tama Claims Settlement Bill began its first reading in parliament today.

It is the second Taranaki claims bill introduced by this government which, when passed, will bring an end to longstanding and significant grievances.

Ngati Tama’s historical claims mainly relate to the Crown’s waging of war in Taranaki in the 1860s and the associated confiscation of about 30,000 hectares of land. The claims also relate to the Crown’s unconscionable actions in its dealings with the Parihaka community, and the inadequacy of the West Coast Reserves.

One of eight iwi of the region, Ngati Tama is located in northern Taranaki and has about 900 members.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Margaret Wilson says the bill lays the foundation for a strong and positive relationship between the Crown and Ngati Tama into the future.

“As New Zealanders we can be proud that real and significant grievances are recognised, and settled, peacefully and within the law.

“The public can be reassured the Crown is certain of the validity of the claims settled by this bill, and has negotiated with the interests of the taxpayer in mind.

“It is not possible to fully compensate Ngati Tama for all of the prejudice and loss they have suffered, because settlements must be balanced with other commitments of the government.

“Ngati Tama have negotiated on this basis, and with reasonable regard to the interests of New Zealand society as a whole. If claimant communities insisted on full recompense for losses, there could be no settlements and therefore no resolution of the historical grievances affecting claimant communities.”

“I want to acknowledge the kaumatua, members and negotiators of Ngati Tama, whose commitment on behalf of their people, their ancestors and descendants, has led to this historic event and contributed to the restoration of the integrity of the Crown.”

The settlement package includes:

Crown apology for breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles; financial redress of $14.5 million dollars; the vesting of five cultural redress properties; a statutory acknowledgement of the special association of Ngati Tama with 11 statutory areas; an acknowledgement of the special association of Ngati Tama with particular coastal areas; the right of first refusal over an amount of quota for certain shellfish species; an acknowledgement of the special association of Ngati Tama with certain indigenous species.

The bill will be referred to the Maori Affairs Committee for consideration. The committee will report back to the House by 13 August 2003.

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