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Auckland Iwi says it will not be bullied by the Crown

Ngāti Paoa iwi will make a formal complaint against former Labour Minister and Chief Crown Negotiator Rick Barker.

The iwi, with significant interests in Auckland, considers Mr Barker has acted in bad faith, and is interfering in the internal affairs of the iwi by acting beyond his remit and mandate as Chief Crown Negotiator.

Iwi member Lucy Tukua moved the complaint against Mr Barker at an iwi hui last night.

“Our iwi will not be bullied. Mr Barker’s behaviour wreaks of paternalism at best, and downright manipulation at worst,” says Ms Tukua.

She says Mr Barker is deliberately trying to destabilise the iwi by playing one iwi board off against the other.

“Our people are familiar with this tactic of divide and conquer and we will not put up with it and we are making a stand against it.”

Currently, Ngāti Paoa has two boards operating on its behalf while it is undertaking settlement negotiations.

One of those bodies is the Ngāti Paoa Trust Board (the Trust Board). Its role is finite as it will eventually wind down once the settlement negotiations are complete. In the meantime, the Trust Board acts as the mandated entity for Treaty negotiations.

Last night, the iwi held one of the largest attended meetings seen in recent times. During the hui, the iwi moved a vote of no confidence in the Trust Board. It also moved to send a formal letter of complaint to the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations about the behaviour of Mr Barker.

The second iwi board is the Ngāti Paoa Iwi Trust. Its Chair, Gary Thompson, says “I am becoming increasingly frustrated by the interference of the Crown in our iwi affairs”.

“Our Trust was established and endorsed by the iwi and the Crown in 2013 but five years on the Chief Crown Negotiator is dictating what we should do, when we should do it, and how.

“We accepted the Crown’s Trust Deed and we ask to be left alone to get on with securing and growing our settlement.”

Iwi mandated Negotiator Morehu Wilson says “My mandate comes from the people”.

“With all the antics and politics, we must listen to our people. It’s important to me that we have their guidance and direction, and ultimately their decision on what needs to happen.

“As far as I am concerned the people have spoken and the Crown should listen too.”


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