Crown pay­ing price of past Gov­ern­ment’s er­rors

The Dominion Post - - Politics -

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.

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