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Ngati Awa Disappointed at Cabinet Delay

Ngati Awa Disappointed at Cabinet Delay

Ngati Awa is disappointed that Cabinet has delayed making a decision on the signing of its Deed of Settlement with the Crown, to compensate among other things the compensation of 245,000 acres of land.

Dr Hirini Mead, Chairman of Te Runanga o Ngati Awa, said Ngati Awa is confused as to why the matter is being delayed.

“The Deed has been through stringent checking and legal clearances. We look forward to a speedy resolution of this anomaly, and trust the Crown will make every effort to honour its commitment to Ngati Awa,” said Dr Mead.

Ngati Awa’s Head of Commercial Negotiations, Paul Quinn, said that Ngati Awa had been in negotiation with the Crown since 1996 on the settlement. He said that “no stone had been left unturned on the matter”, and that Ngati Awa were disappointed that eleventh hour attempts to undermine the process appeared to have deterred the Crown from making a decision on the settlement.

Mr Quinn said erroneous issues were raised at the weekend by the receiver of the Central North Island Forestry Partnership (CNIFP), Michael Stiassny, of Ferrier Hodgson, regarding access to the forest’s private roading network.

He said that the issues raised by Mr Stiassny had been well and truly covered in the years of negotiations and that the proposed Deed of Settlement provides a process for negotiating access rights for both Ngati Awa and other forestry owners.

“In his last minute lobbying, Mr Stiassny has neglected to inform people of two crucial facts. First, that it is not only the receiver that requires access rights to Ngati Awa land, but that Ngati Awa will also require access rights to land belonging to other owners. And that accordingly mutual arrangements would need to be made between the respective owners. This is taken account of in the Deed.

“Second, the issue of access was raised with the Crown in 1996, at which time the Crown decided that the matter was best left to be determined by future owners. All prospective purchasers were informed of this at the time of the sale of the cutting rights so it could be factored into their purchase offers.

“This means that the banks were aware of the situation and supported the purchaser to the amount of $1.2 billion, in full knowledge.

“We are struggling to see where there is a problem,” said Mr Quinn.

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