19 Jun 2013

Accord signed with iwi on spending

7:10 pm on 19 June 2013

Eleven government departments have agreed to work jointly with three Far North iwi so both parties decide how Crown money is spent in the region.

The Ministries of Social Development, Education and Justice are among agencies that have signed commitments with Te Rarawa, Te Aupouri and Ngai Takoto at Parliament on Wednesday.

Far North iwi leaders and Government agency officials sign the Social Accord in Wellington.

Far North iwi leaders and Government agency officials sign the Social Accord in Wellington. Photo: RNZ

Social Development Ministry senior executive Murray Edridge said the agreement would ensure that the Crown and the tribes have a say on spending.

Mr Edridge said at present, the Government would fund many social service providers. But under the accord, the Crown would sit down with the Maori communities to find out what is needed in the area.

The ministry's chief executive Brendan Boyle said the agreement sets up a practical way of dealing with education, health, housing and employment issues.

He said the first step is to find out what issues the people of the Far North are facing, which will guide what the collective leadership group does next.

Mr Boyle said working across a wide range of areas with so many agencies is a challenge but collaboration and shared accountability is the way forward.

The iwi say that State money has not been well spent in the Far North up to now and people are getting welfare payments when that money should be used to create jobs.

Tribal leaders said this can be done through the Government helping to train people to work on farms on land that has been handed back to iwi through Treaty of Waitangi settlements.

The Far North tribes describe the new relationship, known as the Social Accord, as innovative and cutting-edge.

Government agencies in accord

The Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise (containing the Economic Development, Labour and Building and Housing portfolios), New Zealand Police, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Internal Affairs (including the National Library, National Archives and Te Papa), Te Puni Kokiri and Statistics New Zealand.