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Thursday, April 23

Hui progresses Treaty settlement target

Today’s national hui Te Kokiri Ngatahi has started an important dialogue with claimant groups towards reaching the Government’s goal of settling historical Treaty claims by 2014, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Christopher Finlayson said.

The hui in Auckland, which was attended by over 120 representatives of over 60 claimant groups, government ministers, and representatives of other Parliamentary parties, was convened to discuss how to maintain and increase momentum in setting historical claims.

“Participation in today’s hui shows the Crown and claimants are united in our efforts to reach just, durable and speedy settlement of historical Treaty claims,” Mr Finlayson said.

The Prime Minister told the hui that settling historical claims was a priority for the Government and that greater flexibility in the process would assist the Crown to reach its goal. Finance Minister, Bill English, said there would be greater resourcing for the negotiations process.

“The Crown presented seven proposals to improve the negotiation and settlement process,” Mr Finlayson said. “These focused on ways in which claimant groups could organise themselves and their claims, and how the Crown could assist groups to find their own solutions in areas where there could be sticking points preventing settlement, such as disputes over mandates and over-lapping claims.”

These proposals were discussed by claimant representatives. Feedback on those ideas, as well as input from claimant groups based on their own experiences in the negotiation process, were discussed following the Crown’s presentations.

The Crown and claimant groups will now begin more detailed work on how to put the preferred proposals into practice, in advance of a follow-up hui in mid-June in Wellington.

“This government is committed to reaching just, durable and speedy settlement of historical claims,” Mr Finlayson said. “In order to meet our ambitious but shared goal of settling all claims by 2014, the Crown and iwi must continue work together with the same spirit of goodwill demonstrated by the participants of today’s hui.”

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