21 May 2013

Treaty lawyer quits in frustration

8:27 am on 21 May 2013

A Treaty lawyer has quit the field because he's frustrated with the claims process.

Joshua Hitchcock gave up his career at Enterprise Law in Auckland in March, after spending the past three years working on the Nga Puhi District Inquiry.

He says the Crown's goal to settle claims by the end of next year is rushed, and because of this, a number of independent iwi and hapu are being forced to settle collectively, before tribes can reveal who has the mandate to represent their claims.

Mr Hitchcock says the Crown's policy of dealing with "artificial groupings" is pitting Maori against Maori and half the claimants' energy is spent on internal fighting instead of pushing for justice from the Crown.

He says the Crown needs to back off and let tribes work out between them how they want to be represented.