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Wellington claims report welcomed

Wellington claims report welcomed

Treaty Negotiations Minister Margaret Wilson has welcomed the report on claims relating to the Port Nicholson Block which will be released by the Waitangi Tribunal tomorrow.

The report is a significant milestone for Wellington claimants and sets the scene for settlement negotiations to get underway.

Margaret Wilson acknowledges the work undertaken to reach this point by the Tribunal, by the Wellington Tenths and Palmerston North Reserves Trusts, and members of Te Atiawa, Ngati Toa, Ngati Tama, Ngati Rangatahi, Taranaki, Ngati Ruanui and others.

“Iwi have come a long way. There is further to go. The Crown will need time to consider the Tribunal’s findings. While not binding, the report will provide useful information for the negotiation of a settlement or settlements.”

The next step is for Wellington claimants to begin the process for seeking a mandate from their people to negotiate a Treaty settlement. The Office of Treaty Settlements has been working with Wellington claimants to assist them to prepare for this, and the work has been a priority for the recently established Claims Development Team within OTS.

“The Crown’s overall objective is to negotiate comprehensive settlements of all historical claims of large natural groups. The existing policy framework provides a sound basis on which negotiations can progress.”

“Any settlement must be based on good faith negotiations, be transparent, restore the Crown’s relationship with iwi, provide just redress and ensure fairness between claims,” Margaret Wilson said.

“It is far too early to speculate as to the specifics of a settlement. But New Zealanders can be proud that real and significant grievances are being recognised, and settled, peacefully and within the law. It is not possible to fully compensate for all prejudice and loss suffered, as settlements must be balanced with other commitments of the government.”

“But settlements negotiated with reasonable regard to the interests of New Zealand society as a whole make the resolution of historical grievances possible.

“I look forward to progressing claims in the capital city. As with Ngati Whatua o Orakei in Auckland, the resolution claims in the Wellington district will be challenging. However, it will enrich the city with a better understanding of its history, and in particular by the recognition of the contribution made by Maori at its foundation.”

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