Treaty Minister lashes out at Crown Forestry

Minister Chris Finlayson told Te Kāea, the group, Te Kotahitanga is now in a bad position and it's CFRT's job to assist Te Kotahitanga, not the other way around.

The Minister says he is disappointed at CFRT for not funding the Ngāpuhi treaty claims.

Meanwhile Te Kotahitanga Chair, Pita Tipene says, “we the tribes of Ngāpuhi are very concerned about the CFRT decision." The hearing into the Paparahi o Te Raki inquiry was set to start in March, but now that has gone off course.

A CFRT staff member put an application to the board to fund these claims, however, Te Kotahitanga o Ngā Hapū o Ngāpuhi says that news to have approved client status in seeking funding to carry the claims first was new news to them.

Legal representation for one of the Kotahitanga claimants, Moana Tuwhare says this means "the group will now have to re-plan the hearing programme, which will delay the process severely.”

Finlayson says this issue will also "put undue stress on the Waitangi Tribunal as it had set aside a number of days for the hearing and he believes that time and effort is now wasted.”

Te Kāea contacted the Office of Crown Forestry Rental Trust this morning and throughout the day, however they didn't give a response about the Boards decision or the comments made by the Minister of Treaty Settlements.

Mr Tipene says this process has belittled the claimants of Ngāpuhi and thrown the hearings process asunder.

Reporter: Harata Brown.