15 Apr 2014

Wake-up call for CFRT trustees

7:56 am on 15 April 2014

A High Court judge has ordered that trustees of the Crown Forestry Rental Trust adjust their attitudes and fix what he calls the organisation's "toxic" environment.

The trust funds treaty claims and is run by three Maori and three crown trustees.

Two Maori trustees, Sir Edward Durie and Maanu Paul, have no confidence in the chairmanship of Angela Foulkes, who has held the post since 2011. They applied to have her replaced by an interim "neutral" non-voting chair.

In his judgement, Justice Williams declined to do so and instead ordered the trustees to meet as a group to discuss their philosophical differences.

A toxic environment was afflicting the organisation, he said, telling trustees to choose an independent third party to facilitate the hui.

Justice Williams said trustees on both sides seemed to have forgotten that compromise was needed, and that attitudes needed to change at both levels.