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Tainui, Ngai Tahu get $35.3M top-up over dispute

Tainui, Ngai Tahu get $35.3M top-up over disputed calculation of relativity mechanism

By Paul McBeth

April 10 (BusinessDesk) - Iwi heavyweights Waikato-Tainui and Ngai Tahu have received a $35.3 million top-up after disputing the way the Crown valued settlements when the payouts breached the $1 billion fiscal envelope six years ago.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little today announced the $16.6 million payment to Tainui and $18.7 million payment to Ngāi Tahu to ensure each iwi meets the agreed ratio of total settlements.

Central North Island-based Tainui and South Island Ngāi Tahu settled for $170 million apiece but were granted top-up clauses that would ensure Tainui received 17 percent of all settlements and Ngai Tahu got 16.1 percent. That clause would come into play if the Crown paid out more than $1 billion in 1994 dollar terms under the fiscal envelope

"This process is about maintaining the agreed relativity between the settlements agreed with Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu and the total value of all historical Treaty settlements," Little said in a statement. "That was the undertaking made by the Crown in 1995 and 1997 when these settlements were reached, and we must honour it."

The latest payments are separate to initial 2012 top-ups when Tainui received $70 million and Ngāi Tahu $68.5 million and further payments of $28.3 million and $48.9 million respectively after the iwi disputed the size.

Little said the type and variety of Treaty redress have evolved over time, making it more difficult calculate the total value of settlements.

"This uncertainty has led to differing views on the amounts payable to maintain relativity," he said. "It’s important to get these payments to Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu right. The Crown is committed to honouring the contractual nature of the relativity mechanism clauses."

Last December, Tainui and Ngāi Tahu were paid $190 million and $180 million respectively in the second five-yearly cycle under the relativity mechanism.

(BusinessDesk)

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