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UF: 2 years to lodge Treaty claims; 5 to settle

Media Statement
For immediate release
Thursday, 14 July 2005

UF: Two years to lodge Treaty claims; five years to settle

United Future has called for all historical Treaty of Waitangi grievances to be lodged within two years with a view to having them settled by 2010, United Future’s Maori affairs spokesman Murray Smith said today in launching the party’s Treaty policy.

Speaking at the 4th annual Maori Legal Forum in Wellington, Mr Smith said that United Future was aiming for fair and reasonable settlements of legitimate Treaty grievances.

He said the policy was clear that settlements had to be consistent with the “norms of a modern liberal democratic society”.

“In other words, they should not give one class of citizens greater rights than others but should recognise the unique place that hapu, whanau and iwi have had in our country.”

United Future would also ensure that a prerequisite to settlements would be that iwi had “robust governance structures” to ensure the long-term benefit of recipients, Mr Smith said.


United Future Treaty of Waitangi Policy

United Future recognises the Treaty of Waitangi as the founding document of New Zealand and believes it still has an important role to play. The Treaty provides the framework for a unique relationship between tangata whenua and the many other people of diverse cultures who make Aotearoa New Zealand their home. United Future is committed to addressing Treaty of Waitangi issues in a way that benefits everyone and believes that the first step is the fair and reasonable settlement of legitimate Treaty grievances. This needs to be accompanied by a process which will lead to our achieving together a common understanding of the future role of the Treaty in our nation.

The Claims Settlement Process

United Future accepts that Maori hapu and whanau, in particular, have suffered in the past from actions of the New Zealand Government and supports the current process of resolving genuine historical grievances. While there has been considerable progress towards the resolution of the many claims that have been lodged with the Waitangi Tribunal, we believe this process needs to be completed as soon as possible. We therefore seek to commit the government to a goal of settling all existing historical claims within five years.

United Future will:
Ensure that the Treaty is a document for all New Zealanders.
Commit to fair and reasonable settlement of legitimate Treaty grievances.
Establish a time limit of two years for the lodging of any further historical claims in order to provide certainty about the process.
Commit to a goal of 2010 for the settlement of historical grievances, and resource the claims process to ensure that this becomes a reality as far as it is within the government’s control to do so.
Ensure that settlements fit within the norms of a modern liberal democratic society – i.e. they should not give one class of citizens’ greater rights than others but should recognize the unique place that hapu, whanau and iwi have had in our country.
Ensure that settlements with iwi and other large natural groupings recognise hapu and whanau structures where appropriate.
Ensure that, as a pre-requisite to treaty settlements, robust governance structures are established by iwi for the long term benefit of the recipients.
Encourage community partnerships to allow whanau, hapu and iwi to take some co-operative responsibility for social service delivery to their own people.

Establish the Future Role of the Treaty

The Treaty was originally intended as a charter to enable Maori and Pakeha to live peaceably and productively together. After the settlement of grievances, United Future believes the Treaty should continue to have a role in providing the framework for the unique relationship between tangata whenua and the many other peoples of Aotearoa New Zealand.

With this in mind, United Future continues to support the establishment of a Royal Commission on New Zealand’s constitution, including the role of the Treaty of Waitangi. Our focus needs to shift so the Treaty is no longer an instrument of division, but one which is given a defined place within our constitution so that reconciliation between the different ethnic groups of New Zealand, and a sense of ownership by all New Zealanders, may be fostered.

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