|Written by Turia, Sharples, Flavell, Harawira
Thursday, 04 May 2006
E nga hapu, e nga iwi, o te motu, tena koutou
katoa. Tena tatou i nga ahuatanga o te wa.
Iri te rau kawakawa iri ki whare aitua. He piki raukura, he kotore
huia, ka whatia ka ngaro ki Paerau, ka ngaro whakaoti atu.
Apiti hono, tatai hono, ko te hunga mate ki te hunga mate.
Apiti hono, tatai hono, ko te hunga ora ki te hunga ora, e takatu nei i te
mata o te whenua, ka nui nga mihi.
The Treaty settlements process has been a contentious issue ever
since Maori rejected the Government's offer to settle all claims for a billion
dollars. Since then however, some iwi have settled, and other claimants are
currently at various stages of the settlement process.
Since 1992, nearly twenty claims have been settled for about $735 million.
A further $100 million is on the table for claims currently under negotiation,
and $304 million has been set aside to complete the balance of claims.
However, ever since the settlement process began, claimants and
lawyers have been expressing grave concerns about the process itself, the
terms of settlement, the amount set aside for settlement, and the agency
charged with managing settlements.
Those concerns have come from nearly all claimants and their lawyers, from
all parts of the country.
It is because of the seriousness and the breadth of those concerns, that
the Maori Party is considering a call :
"That all Treaty settlements be suspended until there has been a full review
of the Treaty Settlement process".
Because of that, we are writing to all hapu, iwi, and claimant groups to
ask them to consider some of the concerns that have come to us over the past
few months. We list those concerns here.
- Treaty settlements are supposed to be about settling
grievances which have arisen from Treaty breaches.
- The settlement process should therefore be agreed
to by both parties.
- The Crown however has set all terms of settlement.
- The Crown established the Tribunal to consider
- Tribunal hearings are often long and costly affairs.
- The Crown refuses to be bound by Tribunal rulings.
- Because of the lengthy nature of Tribunal hearings,
and the fact that their rulings have no value, claimant groups are being
pressured into direct negotiations with the Crown.
Quantum - $1.3billion
- Government said the country could only afford
$1billion for treaty settlements.
- That proposal has already been rejected by iwi
at the Hirangi hui in 1992.
- The 2005 Budget listed a surplus of $7 billion.
- Clearly, government's settlement offer of $1.3
billion is insultingly low.
Appointment of Negotiators
- People were chosen to represent claims for very
- However, the Crown is insisting on approving
who can represent claims.
- It is inappropriate for one party to determine
who has the right to represent the other party in a settlement process.
Value of Settlements
- The Crown is settling at about 2% of the real
value of claims.
- Maori are being forced to accept far less than
their claims are worth.
- The Crown is insisting on dealing with "large
- Smaller hapu and iwi claims are being denied
- Those in a collective are not told what the value
of their settlement will be.
- The Crown is insisting on settlement entities
which suit Crown plans, even when those entities do not reflect traditional
structures, and even when hapu and iwi are left out of those entities.
- Questionable processes have also been used
to put entities in place.
Full and Final
- The Crown is insisting that all settlements be
"full and final".
- Given the lack of commitment to fair and equitable
settlements, it is entirely
likely that future generations will revisit the claims being signed off by
We know that claimant groups want to settle grievances
in a manner that will enable them to move forward in a positive way.
But we also know that signing off on unfair settlements means that we not
only force future generations to deal with that which we could not finish,
we also hamstring them by accepting that our settlements were in fact "full
Under these circumstances then, we believe it is time for us all to reflect
on the settlement process and the concerns raised above.
It is not our intention to oppose Treaty settlements at this point, but
to signal our very clear disquiet with the process, the terms, the quantum,
and the agency managing Treaty settlements.
The Arawa Lakes Settlement is currently before the House. We hope that we
can get your views before this Bill comes up for its final reading in a few
We would be happy to meet with you to discuss your views, and we would also
appreciate written feedback by Friday 30th of June 2006, to help us firm
up our position on the Treaty settlement process.
Kati ake mo tenei wa. Tera te wa ka kitekite tatou i a tatou. Noho
Tariana Turia - Maori Party Co-Leader
Member of Parliament for Tai Hauauru
Dr Pita Sharples - Maori Party Co Leader
Member of Parliament for Tamaki Makaurau
Te Ururoa Flavell
Member of Parliament for Waiariki
Member of Parliament for Tai Tokerau