Ngāpuhi settlement "priority" for new Minister of Treaty Negotiations Andrew Little

By Talisa Kupenga

With the country's 52nd government officially sworn-in Andrew Little becomes the new Minister of Treaty Negotiations. He says he's ready for the challenge.

Sworn-in as the new Treaty Negotiations Minister, Andrew Little welcomes the challenge.

"This is a huge honour and a huge privilege. I'm thrilled with the responsibilities I've been given. I know there are going to be huge challenges in the Treaty Negotiations Portfolio but I relish that."

Top of his priority list is the Ngāpuhi settlement.

"Ngāpuhi is probably one fo the tractable issues that we've got to get through so that would be a high priority for me and I give the hard problems the biggest priority because I like to fix them."

He replaces National's Chris Finlayson who during his time signed-off 59 settlements. The pair will meet in the next few weeks.

"I'll be looking to my predecessors for advice and guidance. I'm not going to do this on my own and in the end we're all motivated to do what's right for New Zealand and for the Treaty.”

The new Minister of Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta says Little's upbringing in Taranaki knowing its history would be of value to him in this role.

"He is a strong advocate for justice and righting past wrongs. Which is why he is a good choice for that important role and we will be there to help him along the way."

Little is also Minister of Justice, Courts, Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) and Pike River re-entry.