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Pledge No 4: Treaty settlements

4 August 2005

Pledge No 4: Treaty settlements

Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that Labour’s election pledge card would include a policy for all historical Treaty claims to be lodged by 1 September 2008, with the aim of settling all claims by 2020.

Labour is issuing a pledge card again this election outlining key commitments it is making to New Zealanders, during the third term of a Labour-led government.

Today the fourth pledge was announced. It has been preceded by commitments to make big improvements to the rates rebates scheme; to abolish interest on student loans; and to create an extra 5,000 Modern Apprenticeship places, which would take the total number to 14,000 in 2008.

Helen Clark said Labour is committed to completing historical Treaty settlements, and recognises the importance for Maori and for all of New Zealand of doing so as soon as possible.

“On the historical claims the time has come to seek finality. Today we are announcing that Labour is setting a date by which all those claims must be lodged so that we can conclude settlements within a reasonable timeframe.

“Under our policy, claims will need to be lodged by 1 September 2008 so that our timetable for conducting all settlements by 2020 can be met.

“We will continue to negotiate and settle claims with mandated groups, and to support multiple iwi settlements.

“Many New Zealanders have found issues dating back to the signing of the Treaty difficult to comprehend and hard to resolve. Yet in the international context, New Zealand's efforts to seek truth and reconciliation through the Treaty settlement process stand second to none.

“Under this government more Treaty claims have been progressed than ever before. Eight Treaty claims have been settled since our Labour-led government came into office.

“Discussions and negotiations towards settlements have occurred with another 26 groups.

“The acknowledgement and settlement of grievances provides benefits to Maori, and to all of New Zealand.

“Settlements provide iwi with a platform from which to move forward in the next phase of their development, and provide the opportunity for new future based relationships with the Crown to be forged.

”This helps to build a stronger and more confident nation,” Helen Clark said.

Helen Clark made the announcement after visiting the Moana Pacific crayfish plant in Mangere. Moana Pacific is wholly owned by Aotearoa Fisheries Ltd, which was established with the passing of the Maori Fisheries Act in 2004. AFL manages commercial fisheries assets returned to Maori as part of historical Treaty settlements during the 1980s and 90s.

ENDS

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