25 Oct 2013

Maori Council wants claims funder boss to go

6:52 am on 25 October 2013

The Maori Council is calling for the head of the Crown Forestry Rental Trust to resign.

The trust, which helps fund Treaty cases, alleged the wife of one of its members and a council co-chair, Sir Eddie Durie, were working for claimants and Sir Eddie should therefore stand aside.

However a judge said on Thursday that Sir Eddie is not conflicted and that his wife, solicitor Donna Hall, did not represent clients seeking money from the trust.

That decision prompted the Maori Council to demand that the chair of the Crown Forestry Rental Trust, Angela Foulkes, steps down. But Ms Foulkes says she has no intention of going.

She says if the Crown or significant Maori leaders asked her to resign, she would.

Ms Foulkes says she does not consider the Maori Council to be significant leaders in Maoridom.

The Crown Forestry Rental Trust helps Maori make claims to state-owned forest land.

Thursday's decision by retired Court of Appeal judge, Sir Bruce Robertson, means Sir Eddie Durie should be able to get back around the table with the other trustees to decide on Waitangi Tribunal funding claims, particularly in Northland.