11 Jun 2014

Trust must sort governance - Parata

7:38 pm on 11 June 2014

The Kohanga Reo National Trust must sort out Maori pre-school governance before the Crown will get back to the table with it, Education Minister Hekia Parata says.

Kohanga Reo National Trust HQ in Wellington.

Kohanga Reo National Trust HQ in Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The Serious Fraud Office has cleared the trust's commercial arm of criminal offending but it could still lose its charitable status if changes are not made by the end of next month.

The kohanga body wants to restart work with the Government on its Treaty of Waitangi claim, which was put on hold when allegations of financial mismanagement surfaced.

Spokesperson Derek Fox said it was time for the Government to get back to the table to negotiate a settlement on the Waitangi Tribunal's finding from two years ago that it was underfunding kohanga reo and was acting in a way which was prejudicial to the kohanga reo movement.

Mr Fox said there was no longer any reason for the Ministry of Education to not be negotiating with the trust on its operational fund.

But Ms Parata said the body needed to focus on transforming its governance and management, and must be able to restore public confidence.

The Crown had said work around the treaty claim could progress once its concerns about governance arrangements had been addressed.

The Serious Fraud Office said the trust was working on it.