19 Dec 2012

Taranaki tribe seeks oil and mineral rights

7:03 am on 19 December 2012

A Taranaki tribe has told the Government it must consider offering the iwi rights to oil and minerals in its rohe once its Treaty settlement is signed.

Nga Ruahine has made the request in its submission to the Crown Minerals Bill, which will allocate rights to Crown-owned minerals.

It also wants some of the oil company royalties paid to the Crown to be used to help iwi take part in deciding which companies are awarded permits to search and drill for oil.

The iwi says the Bill appears to put economic gains ahead of Treaty obligations.

Nga Ruahine says proposals in the legislation fail to actively protect Maori taonga and do not protect Maori rangatiratanga in relation to environmental management.

It argues the Bill would leave Maori feeling powerless when they ought to be partners with the Crown.

The tribe complains of a lack of adequate resources which means iwi and hapu can't fully engage with Crown decision makers and undermines their ability to protect wahi tapu and other taonga.

Nga Ruahine suggests the setting up of a Maori heritage council to represent iwi in the regions most affected by petroleum exploration and oil drilling.

The tribe is one of three from Taranaki that will meet on 22 December with Treaty Settlements Minister Chris Finlayson to sign provisional agreements advancing their treaty settlements.