13 Mar 2012

Waitangi queue jumping a problem - lawyer

7:57 pm on 13 March 2012

A prominent Maori lawyer says there is a downside to Waitangi Tribunal claimants asking for their application to be heard urgently.

As well as the urgent Kohanga Reo hearing, the tribunal is considering whether to grant a request by the Maori Council for urgency on the rights of tangata whenua over fresh water resources.

Prue Kapua, who specialises in treaty and environmental law in Auckland, says if the tribunal agrees to any urgent hearing then historical applications have to be moved back in the queue.

She says the tribunal thoroughly considers any urgent claim and on some occasions has decided it does not warrant immediate consideration.

Ms Kapua says there has to be a very good reason for a claim to jump the queue.