Thursday, August 2, 2012

Crown broke commitment to a Wellington iwi over land offers...

The Crown broke a commitment it made to a Wellington iwi over offering properties in the Wellington CBD, the Waitangi Tribunal has found.
The tribunal released its report on the Port Nicholson Block urgent inquiry on Wednesday.
The Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust, which represents the interests of Taranaki Whanui in the Wellington region, claimed that the Crown was offering Ngati Toa a substantial amount of property across Wellington as part of its Treaty of Waitangi settlement, contrary to a commitment the Crown made not to do so.
While the tribunal didn't uphold Taranaki Whanui's claim, it found that the Crown broke an undertaking given to Taranaki Whanui not to offer Ngati Toa any more properties within the Wellington CBD, other than the Wellington Central police station.
The tribunal found that the Crown had offered Ngati Toa the right of first refusal to buy Crown properties in Wellington city, potentially including the CBD, as commercial redress.
In doing so, the Crown breached the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, the tribunal said.
The tribunal has recommended that the Crown review its right of first refusal offer to Ngati Toa and, if necessary, amend that offer to ensure no commercial properties are made available to Ngati Toa within the Wellington CBD.
The tribunal said that if as a result of implementing those recommendations, the settlement package on offer to Ngati Toa is in any way diminished, the Crown should offer alternative commercial redress to the iwi.
A spokesman for the Minister of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Chris Finlayson said the recommendations will be discussed with Ngati Toa to find a way forward that honours their settlement negotiations.
"With the release of the Waitangi Tribunal report, the Crown and Ngati Toa can finalise their settlement package and progress to initialling the Ngati Toa Deed of Settlement," the spokesman said.

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