27 Jun 2013

Crown's role in iwi forestry dispute limited - Minister

7:10 pm on 27 June 2013

The Government says it's restricted in what it can do to help eight central North Island tribes to share large forestry blocks among themselves.

Forest lands were retuned to the iwi by the Crown as part of a series of Treaty settlements, but the distribution of the whenua hasn't happened.

The issue of the tribes failing to agree to share the woods has been raised at the Maori Affairs Select Committee by Maori Party MP for Waiariki, Te Ururoa Flavell.

He asked if the Crown could intervene, or whether the dispute will be left to the iwi.

In response, Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson said legislation covering the Treaty settlements means his role in the disagreement is limited.

He said he's willing to help, but the mana whenua process has to be completed by the tribes.