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Act sets end date for lodging Treaty claims

8 December 2006

Act sets end date for lodging Treaty claims

Last night's passing of the Treaty of Waitangi Amendment Act by Parliament has been welcomed as a major milestone for the Treaty settlement process.

The Act sets a closing date of 1 September 2008 for lodging all historical Treaty of Waitangi claims with the Waitangi Tribunal and follows through on Labour's commitment before the last election to put in place the 2008 date.

“Setting a closing date for lodging claims will give claimant groups, the Waitangi Tribunal, the government, and all New Zealanders greater certainty about the number and scope of historical claims still to be settled," Minister of Māori Affairs Parekura Horomia said.

"By the closing date, potential claimants will have had over 20 years to submit their historical claims to the Waitangi Tribunal," he said

"The passing of the Act represents a significant milestone, which will help bring a comprehensive, final, and durable resolution of all historical Treaty claims," Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Mark Burton said. “This will assist with the Government’s target of resolving all historical claims by 2020.”

Mark Burton noted that he had seen a growing momentum to bring historical grievances such as these to a resolution. "The pace of settlements has increased dramatically since the 1990s, when one settlement was reached only every one or two years.

Since Labour took office in 1999 there have been 10 deeds of settlement reached. Three settlement bills were passed by Parliament last year, while two bills have been passed so far this year. Currently, the Government is working with over 20 claimant groups each of which involves a number of claims ranging from 2 to 70.

"New Zealanders can be proud that such grievances are being recognised, and addressed in a peaceful and constructive way," Mark Burton said.

"For Māori the resolution of historical claims provides iwi with resources to help them develop their future economic and social well being," Parekura Horomia said.

"Treaty settlements strengthen the relationship between the Crown and iwi and lay the foundations for us to build a strong and confident sense of national identity, this Act is an important step in that process” he said.

ENDS

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