June 05, 2017
Ngapuhi factions given chance for reset
The Prime Minister has pushed the reset button on Ngapuhi’s stalled treaty settlement process.
At a meeting in Auckland on Saturday, Bill English told the heads of the tribe’s feuding factions to work on a structure that can oversee a resumption of negotiations after the September election.
The move sidelines Treaty Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson, who has shown increasing impatience with Tuhoronuku, the body recognised as having the mandate to lead settlement talks.
It also takes out the Office of Treaty Settlements and the crown facilitator, Nigel Fyfe, who Tuhoronuku believes has given far too much weight to its Te Kotahitanga opponents.
Under Mr Fyfe’s guidance, elements from the two sides worked together on Maranga Mai, a proposal for Tuhoronuku to hand its mandate over to a new body that was to be more representative of Ngapuhi’s multitude of hapu.
Some Tuhoronuku members felt the Maranga Mai process was hijacked and the proposed structure was unworkable, particularly because it did not include specific representation for tribal members living in the cities and for kuia and kaumatua.
Tuhoronuku chair Hone Sadler welcomed the fresh start, and says he’s keen to salvage the good parts of Maranga Mai.
He says the Prime Minister offered to fund talks between himself, Ngapuhi Runanga chair Sonny Tau, and Te Kotahitanga chairs Pita Tipene and Rudy Taylor.
He will allow them to pick a mediator of their choice, but he won’t fund a new mandate process.
Mr Sadler says he will put the proposal to the Tuhoronuku board next Friday, and it will also need to be discussed by Te Runanga o Ngapuhi, which may be able to put some resources into the process.
Mr Taylor says the meeting was a waste of time, with Te Kotahitanga keen to continue on the path laid out in Maranga Mai.
He says it may consider further action on the courts of Waitangi Tribunal.
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