Ministers recognise mandate for Ngāpuhi negotiations
Christopher Finlayson, Pita Sharples
14 February, 2014
Ministers recognise mandate for Ngāpuhi negotiations
All Ngāpuhi members will be entitled to vote in elections for representatives to the independent mandated authority that will negotiate the iwi’s historical Treaty settlement with the Crown, Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson and Minister of Māori Affairs Dr Pita Sharples announced today.
The Ministers today said they have recognized the mandate of Tūhoronuku to negotiate as an independent mandated authority for the settlement of the claims of the country’s largest iwi, Ngāpuhi. Tūhoronuku will become a separate legal entity from Te Rūnanga a Iwi o Ngāpuhi, and new elections will be held for its governance board.
“Ngāpuhi has been going through a lengthy and robust mandating process since 2009, the longest and largest in the settlement process to date,” Mr Finlayson said. “Around 60 hui were held, including 20 hui in the lead up to the formal mandate ballot in August and September of 2011 throughout NZ and in Australia. 76% of those who participated in the ballot were strongly in favour of granting a mandate to negotiate to Tūhoronuku.”
“After reviewing this process and taking into consideration the advice of our officials we came to the conclusion that Tūhoronuku, the entity seeking a mandate, has conducted this process fairly and in good faith allowing all members of Ngāpuhi the opportunity to have their say and demonstrated sufficient support for the mandate.
“As a result of feedback through this process Tūhoronuku has modified its proposed structure to increase hapū representation, and how the mandated group will make decisions. It will also be separated from the Rūnanga and be governed independently by a new board which will be freshly elected.
““For these reasons and complying with the requirement for the Crown to also act in good faith, the Crown has recognised the mandate of Tūhoronuku to negotiate a settlement of the historical Treaty grievances of Ngāpuhi.
“As Ministers our decision was based on how the process has been carried out, the opportunities that all Ngāpuhi members have been provided to participate, the views expressed during the mandating process, the ballot carried out in 2011 and the submissions received in 2013,” Mr Finlayson said.
“Ngāpuhi is the largest iwi and is likely to receive one of the largest settlements,” Dr Sharples said. “A Ngāpuhi settlement will have a major impact on Māori both in the rohe and nationally. We have seen what settled iwi can achieve and the choices that are then available to them. It is time the members of Ngāpuhi were given the opportunity to negotiate a settlement on their own behalf and look forward to the opportunities they are able to create for their members.”
“Tūhoronuku has agreed, as a result of the submissions process to take additional measures to enhance hapū participation in the negotiation process,” Dr Sharples said. “It has also agreed to consult on post-settlement governance arrangements at the agreement in principle stage. The Crown is willing to assist by exploring options for providing for the devolution of redress to iwi/hapu should this be the desire of Ngāpuhi.”
“Ngāpuhi will now have the opportunity to elect their representatives through an independently monitored election process to the new Tūhoronuku Independent Mandated Authority.”
“While Tūhoronuku will be conducting negotiations for a settlement, the form of the post-governance settlement entity that will receive settlement assets, and any provisions for devolving those assets to hapū or specific interest groups, is a decision for members of Ngāpuhi.”
“The background to the mandating process and the reasons for our decision are set out in the attached open letter to all members of the iwi. The Crown has taken the step of communicating directly with iwi members for two reasons. The iwi has the largest membership and it is important that all members have the opportunity to understand the reasons why the Crown has decided to recognise the Tūhoronuku mandate.”
What changes were made by Tūhoronuku as a result of feedback from iwi members during the mandating process?
The mandating process has been long and comprehensive. The final mandated authority reflects much of the feedback given during the mandating process. The most significant changes include:
• Tūhoronuku Independent Mandate Authority will be an independent entity, separate from the Rūnanga;
• A majority (15 of 22) members of the Tūhoronuku governance board will represent hapū interests, and
• Only one member will be appointed by the Rūnanga.
What is the difference between Tūhoronuku and the Tūhoronuku Independent Mandated Authority?
Tūhoronuku is an entity made up of Ngāpuhi representatives from across the iwi that have sought to gain a mandate for Treaty settlement negotiations with the Crown. It has been a sub-committee of Te Rūnanga a Iwi o Ngāpuhi (Rūnanga). Following recognition of its mandate, Tūhoronuku will separate from the Rūnanga and become the Tūhoronuku Independent Mandated Authority.
There will be fresh elections of representatives to the authority. All Ngāpuhi will have the opportunity to participate in the election of new representatives to the Tūhoronuku Independent Mandated Authority.
Further detail is available on the creation of Tūhoronuku and the mandate process they have carried out: http://www.Tūhoronuku.com/store/doc/Ngapuhi_Ourtime_A4_lo-res4.pdf
What are the conditions on recognising the mandate?
The Crown has agreed to recognise of the mandate on the basis that Te Rōpū o Tūhoronuku (Tūhoronuku) meets the following four conditions:
• provide detailed communication and negotiation plans in the Terms of Negotiation;
• maintain its mandate and provide three-monthly reports to the Crown that include details on how these plans are being implemented;
• consult the claimant community on post settlement governance entity (PSGE) options at the AIP stage;
• address concerns about the ability of representatives on the Tūhoronuku IMA to appoint proxy representatives to make decisions on their behalf; and
• ensure there is clarity for neighbouring iwi about who the Tūhoronuku IMA represents.
Which group will control any assets from a settlement?
Tūhoronuku has been recognized as having a mandate to negotiate a settlement on behalf of all Ngāpuhi. It is not the post-settlement governance entity which will receive the assets from any settlement.
The post-settlement governance entity which will receive settlement assets must be ratified by Ngapuhi. This is a decision for Ngāpuhi members to make when a deed of settlement is reached. Ngāpuhi members as a whole will decide the structure of any post-settlement governance entity, and this may include provision for how assets will be devolved to hapū or specific interest groups.
Ngapuhi is the largest iwi in the country. Can its various claims be dealt through a single negotiation?
Ngāpuhi is a large natural grouping that is not easily dealt with in smaller, component parts because of the overlapping interests and descent of different groups within the iwi. Those who took part in the mandate ballot were strongly of the view that this was the way to go forward. The single negotiation will settle all claims. The mandated authority structure provides for the views and interests of hapū to be represented in negotiations.
How large will the settlement be?
All negotiations are unique. However all Treaty settlements tend to include a historical account, a Crown apology, and commercial and cultural redress. Ngāpuhi is the largest iwi in New Zealand and the Crown has previously admitted a number of breaches, and so negotiations offer a significant opportunity for Ngapuhi for economic and cultural development in the region.
Who will benefit from settlement?
Any settlement will be for the benefit all members of Ngāpuhi wherever they may live.
Will negotiations affect the Waitangi Tribunal’s Northland Inquiry?
The Crown supports the Tribunal hearings continuing in parallel with settlement negotiations in this case. Many Ngāpuhi have said they wish to continue to have their claims heard by the Tribunal and we agree that is an important aspect of the reconciliation process.
It is not fair to delay settlement negotiations however. The Tribunal intends to hold 21 weeks of hearings. It currently proposes to complete the second rotation of hearings (up to the 15th week) in June 2015. The timeframe for the remaining hearings will likely be determined in 2015.
The advantage for Ngāpuhi is a parallel approach will allow what is being learned through the Tribunal to inform negotiations, including the historical account of the Crown’s interaction with Ngāpuhi, the Crown’s acknowledgement of Treaty breaches and the Crown apology.