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Forest Land Settlement proposal presented

Media Statement 04 April 2008
For immediate release

CNI Iwi Collective Presents Forest Land Settlement proposal to the Crown

The Central North Island Iwi Collective this morning presented a proposal to the Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Dr Michael Cullen, setting out how Central North Island Iwi wish to settle historical forest treaty claims in the Central North Island.

The settlement proposal was presented by Te Ariki o Ngati Tuwharetoa Dr Tumu Te Heuheu in the presence of CNI Iwi Collective leaders and their hapu and whanau members who gathered for the presentation hui at Waihi Marae.

“The members of the Collective believe this proposal holds the key to early, effective and harmonious settlements for the iwi of the Central North Island. The proposal will provide a sound economic base for the members of a large number of iwi and give us more freedom to work for our members,” said Collective spokesman Tamati Kruger.

“The co-operation between iwi to get us this far has been particularly satisfying. It proves that we can act together for all our interests. We will now do two things; explain the proposal in greater detail to our members, and continue discussions with the Crown to work out the details of a Deed of Settlement that can then be subject to a ratification process by our Iwi members,” Mr Kruger said.

The forest lands held by the Crown in the Central North Island which the Iwi of the Collective have direct interests in total more than 170,000 hectares, and comprise Kaingaroa, Waimihia, Taurewa, Horohoro, Whakarewarewa, Waituhi, Pureora South, Marotiri, and Crater Crown Forests. The forests on the land are owned by the holders of Crown Forest Licences (CFLs).

Annual rentals paid under the licences are held in trust by the Crown Forestry Rental Trust established under the Crown Forests Assets Act in 1989. Under the Act, accumulated rentals together with the associated licensed land are transferred to Iwi upon settlement of forest claims.

The Iwi of the Collective are Ngai Tuhoe, Ngati Manawa, Ngati Rangitihi, Ngati Tuwharetoa, Ngati Whare, Ngati Whakaue, and Raukawa. Affiliated Iwi of Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa which having previously negotiated a settlement with the Crown have agreed to work with the Collective in the negotiations with the Crown to achieve a mutually agreed deed of settlement for the CNI CFL lands.

The Collective group represents more than 100,000 members in the Central North Island and involves all of the Iwi with direct interests in the Crown Forest Lands affected by the settlement proposal.

Proposal Summary

• The iwi that make up the Collective will receive 90% of the forest lands in settlement. The remaining 10% will be retained by the Crown to meet settlement with any other Iwi with a direct interest in the CNI Crown Forest Lands not in the Collective. After such a settlement, the balance of the 10% retained by the Crown will return to the CNI Iwi in the Collective.

• Once settlement is completed and implemented by legislation

 the forest lands,
 the Forest licences associated with those lands, and
 the accumulated rentals

will be held on behalf of the Collective CNI Iwi in a Trust Holding Company.

• The land to be transferred to the Collective under this proposal is valued at between $170m and $190m. This is our estimate of the value of the forest lands, the Crown estimate of the land is higher. The precise value at which the forest lands will be transferred in a settlement will be determined in subsequent discussion between the Collective and the Crown.

• The annual rental income from the forest licences on this land totals $15m.

• The accumulated Licence rentals for these forest lands total $248m.

• The governance arrangements, shareholding of each iwi and the distribution of the economic benefits from the Crown Forest Land and accumulated rentals will be determined by a set of principles based on Tikanga Maori.

• A Forest Management Company to manage the forest lands on behalf of the Collective Trust Holding Company will be established.

• In this transition period between the signing of the Deed of Settlement and the implementation of the agreement, the forest lands will be transferred from Crown ownership to a Trust Holding Company – CNI Forest Land Ltd. This Collective will own 90% of the shares in this company and the Crown 10%. This company will own the CNI forest lands, the Crown interest in the Forest Licences associated with the forest lands and the accumulated rentals associated with those lands prior to their transfer to the Collective Trust Holding Company.

• The Deed of Settlement will also include a number of other redress items including rights of first refusal and deferred selection mechanisms for Crown property and assets in the Central North Island region. These mechanisms will be held and operated by the Collective.

• The proposal set out above will form part of the Crown’s settlement of the historical claims under the Treaty of Waitangi for each member of the Collective. The remainder of each settlement package will be negotiated directly with each member through the existing settlement process following signing of a Deed of Settlement for this proposal with the Crown. The remaining elements of an historical settlement include:

 Any additional commercial redress,
 A Crown Apology,
 Crown Acknowledgements of the breaches of the principles of the Treaty by the Crown,
 An historical account,
 A cultural redress package which each iwi can use to assist in the protection and recognition of their cultural values and sites in their rohe.


What Happens Next?

The Collective and the Crown will work together to develop the fine details of a Deed of Settlement. Once this is agreed between the Collective and the Crown the proposal will then be subject to a ratification process in which all members of the Collective may take part.

If the Crown accepts that that proposal has strong support from our members we will both sign the Deed of Settlement and it will be implemented through legislation.

Ends


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