Maori Party says settlement a compromise for Tuhoe

Updated at 9:28 pm on 11 September 2012

The Maori Party says a deal agreed between Ngai Tuhoe and the Crown is a compromise for the eastern Bay of Plenty iwi - but it has done the best it can in the circumstances.

Tuhoe has agreed to settle with the Crown on a deal including $170 million worth of compensation and an apology.

Tariana Turia says the iwi had little choice but to keep working with the Crown.

Tariana Turia says the iwi had little choice but to keep working with the Crown.

Photo: MAORI PARTY

The Crown announced on Tuesday it will cede ownership of Te Urewera National Park to a separate legal entity to be governed by a board comprised of Crown and Tuhoe members.

Over time, Tuhoe will take over increasing responsibility for the management and control of the national park.

The iwi had wanted outright ownership, but says this deal is acceptable and, in the end, there was no-one else to negotiate with.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says Tuhoe had little choice but to keep working with the Crown and believes the iwi has reached a good compromise.

"It is a total compromise of Tuhoe and their aspirations. However, they want to move onwards and upwards, they want to move forward. And so they've accepted a legal entity which then hands the responsibility back to them and to the Urewera having its own identity."

Public access must remain - Shearer

The Labour Party leader says he welcomes the deal between Tuhoe and the Crown, but stresses that public access to Te Urewera must be maintained.

Public access to the national park has been guaranteed, but the board will be able to charge for any services provided.

Labour leader David Shearer says everyone should still be free to access the park.

"As a New Zealander I like the bush and I like tramping, and I would like to think that I would be able to go where I have been allowed to go up to now.

"I don't think that should be an issue, because we've seen co-management type of arrangements before."

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