4 Feb 2013

Tribunal calls on Crown to fund claim hearings

11:01 pm on 4 February 2013

The Waitangi Tribunal is asking the Government to fund hearings into nearly 400 Treaty claims - if a regular financial source can't come up with the money.

The Crown Forestry Rental Trust is unable to guarantee it will be able to help pay towards two months of inquiries.

Traditionally, the trust helps claimants that have interests in Crown forest lands.

The tribunal has urged the Crown to say whether or not it can offer funding if the Crown Forestry Rental Trust can't.

It wants to know if the Office of Treaty Settlements will be able to assist.

The Te Paparahi o Te Raki regional inquiry is to examine about 390 claims from tribes including Ngapuhi, Ngati Whatua, Ngati Wai and Ngati Hine.

The hearings are due to start in mid March and the Crown Forestry Rental Trust will make a final decision on the funding later this month.

The tribunal says if the trust does not come up with the money - budgets for other inquiries could be affected.