Maori Party Pleased with Supreme Court Decision
Maori Party Pleased with Supreme Court Decision – Te Arawa
Te Ururoa Flavell, Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations spokesperson for the Maori Party;
Friday 9 November 2007
The Maori Party has today acknowledged the efforts of the New Zealand Maori Council (NZMC), the Federation of Maori Authorities (FOMA) and Tumu Te Heu Heu, Ariki of Ngati Tuwharetoa, in pursuing the case around the justiciability of the Te Arawa Settlement Deed.
“Last night’s Supreme Court judgement granting leave to appeal, affirms the natural justice right for a full debate to be had on the matter of the fiduciary relationship with Maori arising from the Treaty” said Te Ururoa Flavell.
The appellants had argued that the Crown’s action in transferring the land to Te Arawa, had denied other Waitangi Tribunal claimants the chance to benefit from future profits from rental of Crown forest land.
In July 1989 the Crown, NZMC and FOMA signed an agreement limiting the Crown’s ability to dispose of land that could be the subject of historical Treaty of Waitangi claims before the Waitangi Tribunal. The Crown agreed, also, to sell only cutting rights to trees on Crown forest land, rather than the land itself.
“The process to win the right to challenge the decision of the Court of Appeal (July 2007), following the judgment of the High Court (May 2007) has required ongoing commitment from all parties” said Mr Flavell.
“There are important issues at stake including whether the 1989 Agreement was an enforceable contract or merely a political compact; and whether the Treaty gives rise to a fiduciary relationship between the Crown and Maori”.
“While no-one likes to see matters drag on in the Courts, there are some key principles involved – not the least being the urgent need to respond to the very strong criticism from the Tribunal, about the flaws in the Crown process which have been described as having “an adverse impact on overlapping iwi”.