February 04, 2013
Mutu says tribunal scared off
A far north claims negotiator says the Waitangi Tribunal has dented its credibility by refusing to make binding recommendations on compensation for her tribe’s treaty claim.
The Waitangi Tribunal has recommended the Crown make an offer to Ngāti Kahu for a settlement valued at about $42.5 million in commercial redress, in line with what was on the table before the iwi broke off talks.
But it says the $260 million package Ngāti Kahu sought was well in excess of settlements already achieved up and down the country, and making binding recommendations to return the properties it wanted would upset settlements with other Muriwhenua iwi.
Margaret Mutu, the chair of Te Rūnanga ō Ngāti Kahu, says she went into the process knowing that the tribunal had been warned that its power to make binding recommendations would be taken away if they were ever used.
“We gave them all the ammunition they needed to able to make the binding recommendations, but at the end of the day, they were too scared. They were too scared and so they didn’t make the binding recommendations. That for us was disappointing but not unexpected. We knew we had a tribunal that was feeling threatened and at times, it was quite hostile”. Margaret Mutu says.
Margaret Mutu says the tribunal process was useful in flushing out the full scope of Crown holdings in the Ngāti Kahu rohe that could be included in a settlement.
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