CNI Forests Land Collective Settlement Bill passed
Hon Dr Michael Cullen
Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations
25 September 2008 Media Statement
Central North Island Forests Land Collective Settlement Bill passed
“The Central North Island Forests Land Collective Settlement Bill completed its third reading today.
“The Act provides for the transfer of the central North Island Crown forests land, worth $196 million and associated accumulated rentals of approximately $223 million to the seven iwi groups that make up the Central North island Forest Iwi Collective.
“This innovative settlement begins the process of providing comprehensive settlements of the historical claims for seven iwi groups and more than 100,000 of their members. It is the largest single settlement that has been completed and will provide a solid base for the economic and social development for the people of the Central North Island.
“The settlement was completed after Central North island iwi joined together to develop a proposal for the use and allocation of the Crown forest licensed land in the region. Without the leadership of the iwi in providing solutions to issues of allocation and overlapping claims this settlement would have taken considerably longer.
“The Crown was happy to proceed with the settlement proposal if it had the strong support of the groups that make up the Collective. After a lengthy and open endorsement process we were convinced that the support was there to make progress and pass this legislation.”
“The settlement represents the culmination of many years of efforts by many people representing both iwi and the Crown. It is a landmark in settlement progress and will provide inspiration to all that creative thinking and goodwill can result in solutions to even the most difficult and complex settlement issues.
“The members of the CNI Collective will now turn to the task of managing and allocating this major asset, and negotiating their individual comprehensive historical settlements. The Crown is committed to doing it all it can to assist the members of the Collective in these tasks.”
The Iwi that make up the Central North Island Iwi Collective are: Ngai Tuhoe, Ngati Whare, Ngati Tuwharetoa, Ngati Manawa, Ngati Whakaue, Ngati Raukawa and the affiliate Te Arawa iwi that make up Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa. Together these iwi have more than 100,000 members. Ngati Rangitihi is a member of the Collective but it is undertaking a separate endorsement process that is yet to be completed. The settlement provides for the iwi to join the settlement at a later date.
The Crown forest lands in the Central North Island total more than 176,000 ha and include the following forests: Kaingaroa, Waimihia, Crater, Horohoro, Pureora South, Taurewa, and Whakarewarewa. These forests are owned by the holders of Crown Forest Licenses.
The settlement legislation vests all this land in a Trust Holding Company, CNI Iwi Holdings Limited. The Collective proportion of the assets held by the Trust is 86.7% by value. The Crown retains the remainder for use in settling other historical claims to the Crown licensed forest land in the region. After six years any residual land will be transferred to the Collective.
Crown Forest Licenses were created by the Crown Forests Assets Act 1989 to allow the transfer of state forest assets while protecting the rights of Maori to historical claims for the underlying land. The licenses provide for the use of the land for forestry purposes. The licenses can be traded and are valid for up to 35 years following the transfer of the underlying land to iwi in settlements.