April 19, 2018
Finlayson rejected politics played with treaty talks
Former treaty negotiations minister Christopher Finlayson has rejected a suggestion by the Waitangi Tribunal that National put politics ahead of achieving a just settlement with Whakatohea.
The tribunal said the crown breached the principles of the Treaty of Waitiangi in recognising the mandate of the Whakatohea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust on negotiate on behalf of the iwi.
It accused the previous Government of rushing the process so it could achieve its political objective of concluding settlements by mid-2020
Mr Finlayson says the $100 million agreement in principle is one of the largest ever recognising the severe losses suffered by the Opotiki-based iwi over many years.
He worked with Whakatohea over at least seven years to lay the foundations for a successful settlement, and crown officials also laboured for many years with the leadership of Whakatohea to allow negotiations to start in 2016.
He says the tribunal has failed to consider the full history and process of the negotiations.
The tribunal recommended a temporary halt to negotiations so Whakatohea is given a chance to vote on a hapu basis on how to proceed.
Mr Finlayson says another ballot was always part of the process of reaching a settlement.
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