4 Feb 2013

Tribunal resists using powers to return property to tribe

11:01 pm on 4 February 2013

The Waitangi Tribunal has rejected a plea from a Far North iwi to use special powers to order the Crown to return land wrongly taken from the iwi.

Ngati Kahu asked the tribunal to invoke binding recommendations that are seldom used. This would have forced the Government to return land, including former Crown properties now in private hands.

But the tribunal says agreements and forthcoming settlements with other tribes would suffer if the properties were returned.

It also does not agree the iwi should receive $260 million in compensation - it recommends $42 million instead and properties of significant cultural and commercial value.

The Waitangi Tribunal says the Crown still needs to make amends for the loss of 70% of Ngati Kahu land and suggests it restart negotiations.