Crown paying price of past Government’s errors
The Crown faces a growing bill over an iwi settlement that the Waitangi Tribunal says was rushed because the previous Government wanted to complete all deals by 2020.
In its report released yesterday, the tribunal concluded the Crown, under the previous Government, had failed to act ‘‘reasonably, honourably and in good faith’’ when it entered into settlement negotiations with the Whakato¯ hea PreSettlement Claims Trust on behalf of the wider iwi.
Judge Michael Doogan said, ‘‘we believe it came about because the Crown effectively prioritised its political objective of concluding settlements by mid-2020 over a process that was fair to Whakato¯ hea’’.
The tribunal has recommended a temporary halt in the talks with Whakato¯ hea.
It’s recommended that all of Whakato¯ hea be given a chance to vote on how to proceed and the Crown commit to ‘‘maintaining its current settlement offer and pay interest on the cash component of the settlement offer’’.
Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little said he didn’t know how much the interest component might cost the Crown or how long the settlement could be stalled for.
Former Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson said the suggestion ‘‘political considerations overrode the need for a just and durable settlement is insulting to the Crown and to me personally’’.
He rejected the tribunal’s comments.