13 Feb 2013

Trust chokes funding for major Tribunal hearings

7:25 pm on 13 February 2013

The Crown Forestry Rental Trust is refusing to help pay towards a major inquiry into Maori grievances with the Crown.

For years, the trust has assisted claimants in preparing, presenting and negotiating claims involving Crown forest lands.

But it's decided not to fund a Waitangi Tribunal inquiry into nearly 400 Treaty claims in Northland - citing technical reasons.

Two months of hearings were due to be held in mid March - with evidence reports written up within four years.

A lawyer representing a number of Ngapuhi claimants and hapu, Moana Tuwhare, says the process might now take up to a decade to complete.

She says two years of planning have fallen by the wayside.

Ms Tuwhare says she will now seek money from the Waitangi Tribunal, which has limited funds.

She says, typically, hearings can cost up to $200,000 a week.