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Breakthrough For Muriwhenua

The Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Margaret Wilson has welcomed the decision of Muriwhenua Treaty claimants to form a united negotiating group.

At a meeting of some 200 people in Kaitaia to consider the claims process Ms Wilson said she hoped negotiating representatives would be confirmed before Christmas.

"This would all allow us to set a goal of initialling a Deed of Settlement by this time next year," said Ms Wilson.

"The Muriwhenua Treaty claims process involves a number of hapu and iwi and several claims lodged with the Tribunal.

"The Labour Alliance government is keeping its word and taking an active role in removing obstacles to getting negotiations underway.

"The Muriwhenua decision is a major breakthrough, justifying the significant effort put in since the election.

Ms Wilson has held five meetings with claimant groups and her officials have made several visits to the Far North for research and consultation.

"Once the mandates are confirmed the way is clear for negotiation of just redress for historical grievances, allowing the people of Muriwhenua and the government to turn our attention to the urgent problems of today," said Ms Wilson.

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