18 Oct 2013

Conflict claim at Crown Forestry Rental Trust denied

6:32 am on 18 October 2013

A lawyer says there is no conflict of interest in her role as a Treaty negotiator and her involvement in appointing members to the Crown Forestry Rental Trust, the body that funds Maori to make claims to state-owned forest land.

The Maori Council is accusing Traci Houpapa of failing to disclose her financial interest in funding applications to the trust.

She is head of the Federation of Maori Authorities, which appoints members to the trust, and she is also a Treaty negotiator for the Hawke's Bay tribe, Ngati Hineuru.

Traci Houpapa says while she plays a part in appointing members to the trust, she is not a trustee and therefore there is no conflict of interest.

The Crown Forestry Rental Trust says it's the Federation of Maori Authorities that appoints people, not Ms Houpapa as an individual.

The trust says it has no comment on her work with Ngati Hineuru, as the tribe's requests for funding go before the trust on Tuesday.

The Maori Council's assertion comes as its co-chair, Sir Eddie Durie, has been told to step aside as a member of the Crown Forestry Rental Trust due to an allegation of a conflict of interest: his wife Donna Hall who represents Treaty claimants in Northland.