14 Feb 2013

Legal advice blocks funding for Tribunal hearings

7:02 pm on 14 February 2013

A body that financially backs Maori preparing claims against the Crown says it's pulled out of funding a major set of hearings on legal advice - but won't reveal what the lawyers said.

The Crown Forestry Rental Trust has so far refused to help pay towards a two month-long Waitangi Tribunal inquiry in Northland.

Both the claimants and the Tribunal expected money to be made available before next month's hearings - funding that typically pays for research, witnesses, and a venue.

Trust chairperson Angela Foulkes says it will work with claimants - and still hopes to provide funding.

She says the trust took legal advice after seeing what she describes as a complex proposal from claimants.

Ms Foulkes says nobody more than her wants funding confirmed for the Northern hearings - but it's going to take a few more months of work.

She says her organisation can only help Maori in claims, when Crown forest licensed lands are involved.