Treaty Negotiations Minister “the wrong horse” – Ngāpuhi hapū

By Raniera Harrison

Ngāpuhi hapū have reaffirmed their concerns with Minister of Treaty Settlements Andrew Little and his ability to settle their claim.  

Despite the government making a peaceful official entrance to Waitangi, hapū members say they've had enough of the Minister of Treaty Negotiations.

Huhana Lyndon of Ngā Hapū o Ngāpuhi says, "That says you're wrong.  You've picked the wrong horse and it's time to put the mana back in the hands of the hapū."

It was a message directed to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as she made a formal arrival at Waitangi today.

A source has revealed to Te Kāea that Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is being considered to take over from Andrew Little in the role.

Ardern appeared to dismiss the notion. 

"Who's that come from?  I'm the one that makes the decision on that."

However, in an attempt to speed up the the Ngāpuhi settlement, Te Kāea understands the prime minister has begun discussions to ascertain the viability of removing the ministerial portfolio from Little.

"News to me...never heard it before," Little told Te Kāea.

Some hapū of Ngāpuhi say they are tired of waiting to settle the claim- regardless whether its Andrew Little or Winston Peters.

"He's Ngāpuhi.  That's where weasels will tell us it will be a conflict of interest for him if he takes up the role," says Tau. 

In July last year, Te Rōpū Tūhono member, Rāniera Tau, said he wanted $1.5bil to settle the tribe's claim.  More reserved estimates put the deal at $500mil.

"Looking at the leadership and the type of experience that you need to navigate your way with our people, I mean I'm just mihi-ing to Winston," says Lyndon.

Hapū say the pressure is on Labour to settle the claim before next year's general election.

"We can't have this many unhappy Ngāpuhi, we want to be better. That's unfortunate for Mr Little," says Hinerangi Himiona.

Ngāpuhi and the nation will soon see if the rumoured changes take place.