12 Sep 2014

National extends settlement deadline

9:26 pm on 12 September 2014

National has pushed its Treaty of Waitangi settlements deadline out by another three years, to 2017. The party has released its Treaty and Māori Affairs policies.

Chris Finlayson signing of the Whanganui River Treaty Settlement.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson signs the Whanganui River Treaty Settlement. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Before the last general election, National set a goal to complete Crown-iwi packages by 2014.

But negotiations moved slower than anticipated in some cases, prompting a policy change to at least ensure tribes met the Crown's criteria to be on the pathway to completing the settlements.

One speedbump has been the tribal disagreements over a Ngāpuhi mandate to enter talks with the Crown.

There have ben many successes too, such as signings for Tūhoe and Whanganui - both involving lengthy negotiations and unique legislation for Te Urewera and Whanganui River to confirm tribal kaitiaki roles while guaranteeing public access.

Today, National set a new settlement timeframe, saying all willing iwi should have deeds of done by 2017.

The party said that under its watch, the rate of Treaty settlements has sped up compared to Labour's record.

National said it had completed 46 settlements since 2008.

According to its policy documents, Te Manu Korihi could not identify any new kaupapa but instead there are repeats of budget announcements and earlier agreements with the Māori Party.

If it gets back into power, one party focus will be to continue its work on reforming Te Ture Whenua Māori Act, to loosen up legal controls and make idle customary land productive.

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