9 Sep 2009

Some incomplete Treaty claims may still go ahead

10:15 am on 9 September 2009

Some historic treaty claims that haven't met Waitangi Tribunal criteria may still be given the green light.

More than 1,800 new claims were made in the lead-up to the deadline for lodging historic treaty claims in September last year.

Since then, 620 have been officially registered by the tribunal but more than 1,300 others are described as 'pending'.

Tribunal director Darrin Sykes says this means the submissions are incomplete in some way, but haven't been declined.

Historic claims must relate to an act or omission of the Crown that occurred before 21 September 1992.

Since 1976, the total number of claims registered has reached 2125.

To date, the tribunal has completed reports on 15 of 37 districts, covering almost 80% of New Zealand's national territory.

Hearings have finished in another five areas with reports due soon, and the tribunal is gearing up for inquiries in 10 further districts in Northland, East Coast, King Country and from Taihape to Kapiti, which will take in the majority of the outstanding claims.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson says if there are residual claims after the Government's 2014 goal for settlement, the Crown will still have largely completed its aim.

Mr Finlayson says he is focused on 60 big iwi settlements that need to be completed.