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Treaty deal major step forward for New Zealanders

Hon Dr Michael Cullen

Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations


25 June 2008
Media Statement

Embargoed until midday


Treaty deal a major step forward for New Zealanders


The settlement achieved between the Crown and the Central North Island Iwi Collective is a major step forward for all New Zealanders, Treaty Negotiations Minister Michael Cullen said today.

The Crown and representatives of the seven Collective iwi signed a deed of settlement resolving their claims on central North Island forestry assets. The agreement is the largest reached in the Treaty of Waitangi Settlements process to date.

The Collective is made up of Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Whare, Ngāti Manawa, Raukawa, and the Affiliate Te Arawa Iwi and Hapū. An eighth iwi, Ngati Rangitihi, had previously been a member of the collective and the Crown is holding a door open to them if they choose to return to the Collective.

“The Treaty Settlements process is giving all New Zealanders a chance to acknowledge difficult aspects of our history,” Dr Cullen said. “And most importantly, the settlements process is giving all New Zealanders – Maori and Pakeha – a platform to move forward together.

“The Deed of Settlement signed today is the biggest step we have taken in the Treaty Settlements process to date. Signed by iwi representing over 100,000 people, the Central North Island settlement will deliver a major economic boost to the members of the collective with significant gains for the regional and national economies as well.

“For nearly 20 years rents have been building up in the Crown Forestry Rental Trust waiting for the issues surrounding the region’s forests to be resolved. With today’s agreement, nearly 90 per cent of that land and those accumulated rentals can finally be released to the seven iwi involved and unlocked for their economic development.

“The agreement reached today is a result of the iwi-initiated, iwi-led negotiation process started by Dr Tumu Te Heuheu late last year. On behalf of the Crown I thank all those involved for their hard work and for their commitment to the successful resolution of the Treaty Settlements process.”

Attached: Background information on the CNI Settlement

--

Central North Island Forest Iwi Collective Settlement


Questions & Answers


1. What is the total cost to the Crown?

The value of the Crown land to be transferred to the Central North Island Forest Iwi Collective is $195.7 million. In addition, the Collective will receive the rentals that have accumulated on the land since 1989, which are worth approximately $223 million, and an annual income stream of about $13 million.


As with previous settlements, these rentals and the future rental stream the Collective will receive from that land are not considered as financial redress as they represent the income the land owner would have received if the land had been transferred in 1989, and are not costs to the Crown.


2. Who benefits from this settlement?

The iwi who make up the Collective and will receive the redress are Ngai Tuhoe, Ngati Tuwharetoa, Ngati Manawa, Ngati Whakaue, Ngati Whare, Raukawa and the Affiliate Te Arawa Iwi/hapu. Together these iwi have a population of over 100,000 people. Ngati Rangitihi was part of the Collective in the process of negotiating the proposal, but was not able to endorse the settlement in the Collective endorsement process. If Ngati Rangitihi is able to satisfy the Crown that there is broad support for the settlement within the iwi, within the next six months, there is an opportunity for it to join the settlement.


The settlement will also lead to a very substantial investment into the central north island region, from which the wider region and New Zealand as a whole should benefit.


3. Are the public’s rights affected?

No. Public access to the forests will continue following settlement date. The Collective has agreed to preserve and enhance existing public access to the Central North Island forest estate for the continued enjoyment of all New Zealanders. Much of this access would otherwise expire upon transfer of the lands in settlement.

4. What effect does this settlement have on the one previously negotiated by the Affiliate Te Arawa Iwi/Hapū represented by Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa?

The participation of Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa in the Central North Island Forests Iwi Collective process has required the amendment of the settlement negotiated between the Crown and the Affiliate Te Arawa Iwi/Hapū in 2006. The commercial forestry redress negotiated in that settlement has been replaced by a share in the Collective’s forest assets.


5. What are Crown forest lands and Crown Forest Licenses?

In order to protect Crown land for use in possible later Treaty Settlements, the Crown Forests Assets Act 1989 created Crown Forest Licenses, separating the ownership of the forest from the underlying land. The licenses are owned by investors and their rentals are held by the Crown Forestry Rental Trust. The Crown and Maori nominate the Trustees. When the underlying Crown held forest lands are transferred to iwi in Treaty settlements the accumulated rentals are also transferred to the settling group. Further details on the rentals can be found at www.cfrt.org.nz.

6. Why are the rentals not counted as financial redress by the Crown?

Since 1989, and the passage of the Crown Forestry Assets Act, the Crown Forestry Rental Trust has been receiving rentals from Crown Forest Licensed land pending the resolution of Treaty claims to the land. The rentals represent earnings foregone from the forest land during the time it has taken to resolve the claims, and are not offset against settlement quantum.


7. What forest land is included in the Crown forest lands in this proposal?

The land under the Kaingaroa, Horohoro, Marotini, Waituhi, Pureora South, Waimihia, Taurewa and Whakarewarewa forests. The total land area covered by these licenses is over 176,000 hectares.


8. What does on account mean?

Comprehensive settlements for the CNI Collective iwi will be negotiated separately, (and have been completed in the case of the Affiliate Te Arawa Iwi and Hapu). These settlements will take into account what the iwi have already received under this settlement. Any additional redress for each iwi above what they receive in this package will be decided in their individual discussions with the Crown about the remaining elements of the settlements of their historical claims.


9. How will proposed redress be allocated amongst the members of the Collective?

The Collective iwi have agreed amongst themselves on a process to allocate the land which is based on mana whenua and principles of tikanga Maori. The process will be completed by 1 July 2011. The Collective has agreed to allocate the accumulated rentals and ongoing rental income proportionally as set out in the Bill. The allocation for the individual iwi closely aligns with the Crown’s own assessment of how the redress be allocated.


10. What about the interests of iwi who are not members of the Collective?

The Crown will hold 13.3% of the Crown forest lands (by value) to settle other claims to the CNI forest lands. This has changed from 10%, as Ngati Rangitihi has not agreed to the settlement. The Crown’s 13.3% holding will revert to 10% if Ngati Rangitihi decides formally to agree to the settlement and is able to satisfy the Crown there is broad support for doing so. In that case it will be included in the settlement and the Collective’s share restored to 90% and the Crown’s share to 10%. After six years, any lands not used in settlements with those iwi will be available to the Collective. Mechanisms for deciding on allocation are still being explored. The Waitangi Tribunal will continue to have jurisdiction over the Crown’s proportion for this period.

11. How was the settlement ratified?

Support for the settlement was demonstrated through a number of hui held both by the Collective and the Crown. The Collective held over 70 hui in total, with each iwi in the Collective determining its own endorsement process. Some used postal votes, and others hui votes. Four public meetings were convened by the Crown in the CNI area to hear the views of iwi and the public directly, and written submissions were also invited. The Crown also engaged directly with neighbouring iwi who have forest related claims to make sure it understood the implications of the proposed settlement for those iwi. Te Puni Kokiri acted as an independent observer at the Collective and Crown hui and provided an report on the process. The majority of Collective iwi endorsed the settlement during consultation, with the exception of Ngati Rangitihi, who in a contested result did not agree to the settlement. Ngati Rangitihi is consequently not included in the settlement Bill, however the Crown and the Collective are holding open a window of opportunity for Ngati Rangitihi to agree to the settlement within the next six months. If the iwi can satisfy the Crown there is broad support for the settlement within Ngati Rangitihi, the iwi will be included in the Bill through a Supplementary Order Paper.

12. What happens next?

Now that the Crown is satisfied of a broad level of support for the redress package from a majority of iwi, a Deed of Settlement will be signed and legislation to implement the settlement will have its first reading. The government will continue to support the Collective to identify and explore economic opportunities to maximise the returns to the member iwi and the CNI region, and to New Zealand as a whole.


13. How has public access been enhanced?

The right of the public to enter and use the land for recreational purposes which would usually fall away on settlement is to be maintained. This includes protecting cycle and horseback access in the Whakarewarewa Whaka and Tokorangi forests. The Collective (and the licensees) have also agreed to extend vehicular access to four track ends within the Whirinaki Forest land. Principles for protecting the Whakarewarewa Whaka and Tokorangi forests have been agreed with the Collective. If the Rotorua District Council also agree they will be included in the Deed of Settlement.


14. What about the impact of the settlement on conservation values?

The Crown, the Collective and the licensees have agreed to additional protection for two areas of high ecological value. They are a 15 ha wetland that is home to a threatened species of swamp leek orchid and the 127 ha Rangitaiki River wetlands which have exceptional conservation values. Additional vehicular access has also been provided for conservation staff.


15. What impact will the new emissions policy have on the way in which the forests are used in the future?

Ministers have yet to make final decisions on emissions policy. If the Climate Change Emissions Trading Bill being passed into law, the Collective will receive an allocation of New Zealand Units as a consequence of receiving the land, on the basis that the CNI forests land is pre-1990 forest land.


16. Will all the land be held by one entity after settlement?

The legislation will set up a trust holding company that that will receive the forest lands and accumulated rentals, and will hold the land until and unless allocated to individual iwi. Transfer of the land allocated can be made after 6 years or earlier if the Crown agrees. Members of the Collective (and the Crown until its share has been transferred to either settle other claims or to the Collective) will own shares in the company, and will have equal voting rights (i.e. one vote per shareholder).


ENDS

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