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'Full and final' Waitangi settlements?

Hon Jim Anderton

Member of Parliament for Wigram
Progressive Leader

18 November 2009
Media Statement

‘Full and final’ Waitangi settlements?

If the government reopens the Treaty settlement with Ngai Tahu because of the ETS, there will never again be any such principle as ‘full and final’ settlements, Progressive MP Jim Anderton says.

“The government is heading down a very damaging path by doing a special deal that revisits the 1990s settlement with Ngai Tahu.

“This issue was raised with the previous government, when Ngai Tahu questioned the effect of an ETS on its Treaty settlement. When Cabinet considered this issue I personally raised the issue of principle that was at stake. If we reopened a settlement because of a subsequent new policy, it would be never-ending. On that basis, Cabinet decided not to reopen the settlement.

“To reopen it now makes a mockery of Treaty settlements.

“Governments make lots of decisions that affect assets like land and forests. It changes tax law, influences exchange rate policy and changes laws around land use, as well as changing environmental legislation, such as emissions.

“If the government has to compensate over ETS, then it has to compensate over any change of policy that might negatively affect valuation.

“I notice no one wants to revisit the settlement when governments make decisions that subsequently increase the value of the asset.

“What the Government is doing is creating a new class of assets that are former Treaty settlement assets, and they would never stop being Treaty assets. They would always be liable for compensation.

“Crown Law received an independent legal opinion that refutes suggestions there was bad faith or any breach of obligation in the settlement. The government should not be exposing the taxpayer to this unlimited risk particularly as a result of an expedient political deal with the Maori Party,” says Jim Anderton.

ENDS

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