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Settlement Must Be Squeaky Clean

15 September 2005 PR 123/05

Settlement Must Be Squeaky Clean

The government should delay finalising the Te Roroa Deed of Settlement until it receives satisfactory answers to a number of outstanding issues associated with the Northland iwi's historical claims, said Denis Anderson, President of Far North, Whangarei, and Kaipara Districts Federated Farmers.

His comments follow the government and Te Roroa negotiators saying this week they had finalised a settlement over land claims before the Waitangi Tribunal.

“There is too much innuendo and too many unresolved allegations floating about for the settlement to be finalised at this stage”, said Mr Anderson. "These allegations need to be properly investigated."

There has been a lot of concern about the reliability of evidence presented to the Waitangi Tribunal over the claim. The tribunal hearing in to Te Roroa’s “Wai 38” claim found the Crown acted unfairly when it bought land from Te Roroa in the 1870s.
The tribunal recommended that specific areas of land should be returned to Te Roroa.

“One of the concerns is that some of the land recommended to be returned to Te Roroa was private land. This created huge pressure on land owners, some of whom were farmers and Federated Farmers’ members. Subsequently the Treaty of Waitangi Act was amended to prevent the tribunal from making recommendations about claims over private land.

“Nevertheless, the circumstances which forced the sale of private land before the law change are worrying. In such circumstances there are serious doubts about whether the Crown paid fair value.

“There have also been persistent allegations that Te Roroa claimants had an inappropriate influence over some evidence presented to the tribunal. This may or may not be true."

“The government needs to get to the truth by holding an inquiry. Before finalising a deal, the government must ensure that everything involved with this settlement is squeaky clean," Mr Anderson said.


ENDS

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