12 Feb 2013

Tribunal seen as bowing to pressure

6:39 am on 12 February 2013

Ngati Kahu says the Waitangi Tribunal has bowed to political pressure by choosing not to use its special powers to order the Crown to return land wrongly taken from the iwi .

The Far North iwi asked the Tribunal to use what's known as binding recommendations - which would have forced the Government to buy land back and give it to the tribe.

Ngati Kahu chair Margaret Mutu said the Waitangi Tribunal continues to fight for its own survival.

She claims it has been under threat since 1997 from successive Governments.

Ms Mutu said the Tribunal faces the axe or degradation of powers if it invokes binding recommendations.

She believes it's a very serious interference in the judicial process by Parliament and a breach of the separation of powers.