March 31, 2013
Row shuts Crown Forest Rental Trust purse
A stoush over who gets to choose alternates to the Crown Forest Rental Trust is affecting funding for some claims.
The trust, which is the main source of money for claim research, is warning claimants that it can’t consider applications in cases where one of the Māori-appointed trustees has a conflict of interest.
The notification comes because two of the trustees, Sir Edward Durie and Maanu Paul, have asked the High Court for clarification over appointing members to fill in when they cannot attend or when they have tribal or other links to the applicant.
They want the appointing organisations, the New Zealand Māori Council and the Federation of Māori Authorities, to pick the alternate.
In recent times the chair, Crown appointee Angela Foulkes, chose who should fill in.
A hearing has been set down for April 15.
Ms Foulkes says trust staff will continue to work with claimants on applications for recognition as an approved client or for funding assistance, but when those applications can be considered is largely dependent on the outcome of the legal proceedings.
A dispute over the trust’s policy of funding large or generic claims without requiring claimants to get approved client status has already led to funding being withheld for stage two hearings of the Waitangi Tribunal’s Te Paparahi ō te Raki or Northland inquiry.
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