14 Jul 2011

No more money to look after Treaty buildings - minister

8:43 pm on 14 July 2011

The Government has ruled out boosting the maintenance budget to keep properties earmarked for Treaty of Waitangi settlements in good condition.

About 900 buildings are looked after by the Ministry of Justice before they are transferred to settlement claimants or sold.

But more properties are being stored than have been released, which is increasing the cost of running repairs.

The ministry says the state of some properties, such as school houses, has got worse as it puts off doing work.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson says a budget top-up is out of the question.

Mr Finlayson says there is not a lot of money going around and maintenace jobs are being prioritised.

The minister says speeding up Treaty settlements is a long-term solution.

The previous Labour government averaged about 1.6 settlements a year, while the current National-led government has completed 13 in the past two years, he says.