20 May 2013

Iwi arguments cause delays in Treaty settlements - trust

7:12 am on 20 May 2013

A Treaty claims funder says progress in some historical Treaty settlements have been delayed because tribes are engaged in internal and inter-iwi politics.

A Crown Forestry Rental Trust report says it set aside $35 million for assistance payments over the past financial year, only half of which was spent.

Trust chief executive Darrin Sykes writes that all parties in the settlements sector have a responsibility to behave in a way that leads to the quick resolution of historical claims.

He said while relationships will be tested at times, it's important to stay focussed.

But the trust has its own problems in this area.

It's currently sitting on money it might pay out to claimants in the series of northern Waitangi Tribunal hearings, but its own internal dispute is delaying a spending decision for the region.

The issue centres on who should replace trust Maori member Sir Edward Taihakurei Durie who is stepping aside due to a conflict of interest.

The Crown Forestry Rental Trust helps Maori to prepare, present and negotiate claims against the Crown, which involve, or could involve, Crown forest licensed lands.

It awards funding from annual rental fees for licences to use certain Crown forest licensed lands.