June 12, 2017
Ngapuhi struggle with hardest step
The Prime Minister says the last steps to a settlement are often the hardest.
Bill English has pulled the crown back from direct engagement with with Ngapuhi's treaty claims until after the election and told the tribe's main factions to sort out a negotiating team by then.
He's not asking them to start from scratch, but it's Ngapuhi's job to come up with a unified approach, rather than having a crown mediator sitting in the middle of the tribe.
Whatever the issues the leaders have with each other, the pressure will grow from below for the tribe to get in a fit state to negotiate.
"We see this time and again in settlement processes or mandate processes, the last steps are the hardest. I think this is where we are up to with Ngapuhi. It's their kaupapa, it's their rangatiratanga, and it's not really the job of the crown to prop up the contending parties. They have to sort it out," Mr English says.
He says the plan to shift the powhiri for Waitangi Day commemorations to the Treaty Grounds is a sign Ngapuhi is starting to tackle some of the issues of unity that have disrupted the event in recent years.
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