5 Nov 2014

Treaty settlement passes first reading

2:48 pm on 5 November 2014

Another Treaty settlement bill has passed its first reading in Parliament.

Chris Finlayson.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson. Photo: RNZ

The Te Kawerau ā Maki Claims Settlement Bill included $6.5 million of commercial redress for the Tamaki-based iwi, allowing it to acquire 86 percent of the Riverhead forest north of Auckland.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson said the legislation put to rest long-standing grievances. He told Parliament today that the iwi lost most of its land through extensive and excessive Crown purchases.

"What reserves were set aside were never protected and were gradually alienated from tribal control, at the end of this process Te Kawerau ā Maki were rendered landless.

"This had a severe impact on the health and well-being of their community."

The Government also wanted to pass the Te Hiku Claims Settlement Bill today.

The bill would ratify a long-awaited Treaty settlement and would give control of Far North 90-Mile Beach to iwi.

Ngati Kuri, Te Aupouri, Ngai Takoto, and Te Rarawa signed off on the agreement with the Crown two years ago.

They had already received a large part of their cash settlement, but passing legislation will release farms and Te Oneroa a Tohe - 90-Mile Beach - into iwi control.

Te Rarawa chief Treaty negotiator Haami Piripi said management of the beach was an important milestone and there would be significant changes.

He said this would include controlling vehicle access to prevent further damage to the environment.

The Hawke's Bay Regional Planning Committee Bill will also be given a first reading today as Parliament was sitting under extended hours, as the Government was keen to make progress on several bills.

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