A Gisborne iwi collective Turanganui-a-kiwa leader says he disagrees with the region's mayor about whether treaty settlements help boost economic growth in the region.
Mayor Meng Foon is confident payouts to iwi will lead to a surge in new Maori businesses and employment opportunities for young people.
But the iwi collective's deputy chair Pene Brown says the climate for Maori to set up new businesses hasn't changed.
He says the opportunities for new projects in the region, now that Maori have money, are no different from when they didn't have money.
Mr Brown says the Gisborne region is a hard place to put together business proposals, and the fact that iwi may now have some money to spend doesn't make it any easier.