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NZ Maori Council Cautions The Solicitor General On Comments During Royal Commission

The Executive Director of the New Zealand Maori Council has cautioned the Solicitor General that establishing a “redress” Commision simialr to the framework of the Waitangi Tribunal must take into account the flaws of the Waitanghi Tribunal – including the non-binding nature of recommendations. Matthew Tukakis, Executive Director, comments come after Solicitor-General Una Jagose appeared before the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care including:

“''There's great parallels there where the law didn't deliver the answer, didn't or wouldn't deliver the answer, thinking about the establishment of a permanent court of inquiry in the Waitangi Tribunal.'' & ''And [it] is now looking at contemporary issues with that same model. The decision to set up such an alternative has led to a quite different approach and response.'' & ''There is no alternative, governments haven't established, they have established this inquiry clearly, but nothing like the Waitangi Tribunal, nothing like other forms of dispute resolution that we can see in our system,''

“I would remind the Solicitor General that many of the reports that have been handed down by the Waitangi Tribunal have had their recommendations either ignored by the Crown (and successive Governments) or they are massaged in such a way that, very often, there is little or no resolution. I use the example of the Wai 262 Taonga Claim where many of the original claimants have now passed away. The claim in relation to the New Zealand Maori Wardens, now nearly a decade old, has never been responded to.” Tukaki said

“The fact that these claims are not responded to creates even more mamae or grief. So while I respect the need to look for some sort of alternative forum for the resolution of historical claims against the Crown and institutions it must be a forum where the decisions made by such an entity are binding. And to be even franker Crown Law is not always a good partner in these endeavours with some behaving as if we are in some sort of locked battle when it comes to interests and rights.” Tukaki said

“Victims deserve their claims to be settled; they deserve every opportunity to move on with their lives as much as possible and to be frank if the Solicitor General has been musing what needs to be done can someone answer me the question of why, when people in high up positions knew the current system wasn’t working did they sit idly by and not do something.” Tukaki said

“And for the record the Solicitor General, as far as I am aware, has never engaged with Maori on what an alternative structure looks like.” Tukaki said

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