7 Nov 2012

Police checks sought for negotiators

6:30 am on 7 November 2012

Hokianga hapu with claims before the Waitangi Tribunal are calling for police checks on anyone nominated to negotiate a settlement.

Ngapuhi are divided over who should represent them in negotiations with the Crown, with many hapu rejecting Tuhoronuku, the runanga committee claiming the mandate to do so.

The lawyer for Hokianga claimants, Jason Pou, has written to Treaty Negotiations Minister for Chris Finlayson stating his clients' concerns.

Mr Pou says the latest proposal for an independentrepresentative body for Ngapuhi is a step forward from Tuhoronuku.

But he says Hokianga hapu want an assurance that anyone seeking a role on that agency will undergo a police check, and that those convicted of any serious crime, or crimes of dishonesty, will be disqualified.

They also want five members from each claims district in the north and see no need for general, runanga, kaumatua or rangatahi seats on the representative body.

Mr Pou says with those changes Hokianga could support a new structure to pursue settlement