Minister rushes through Treaty deals while he can

A burst of frantic activity by Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson during the last week of the Fifth National Government gives the appearance that he may think that the days of National rule are numbered.

On Friday, he signed an agreement in principle with eastern Bay of Plenty tribe Whakatohea that includes financial redress of $100 million. See

On that day, he signed a further agreement in principle with Auckland tribe Ngati Whatua which includes $7.7 million in financial redress. This deal goes on top of earlier settlements with Ngati Whatua subgroups Orakei, Kaipara, Te Uri o Hau and Te Roroa. See

On Thursday, Mr Finlayson signed a deed of settlement worth $8.7 million with Coromandel tribe Ngati Hei. See

On Wednesday, he signed an agreement in principle with the Chatham Islands Hokotehi Moriori Trust which includes financial and commercial redress of $18 million. In that deal the Crown takes responsibility for not ending enslavement of Moriori by Taranaki tribes from 1842. The genocide of Moriori by Taranaki Maori started in 1835, for which Taranaki tribes remain silent. See

Parliament sat through extended sitting hours on Wednesday morning to pass the Ngatikahu ki Whangaroa Claims Settlement Bill through its third reading. During that sitting, the Ngai Tai ki Tamaki Claims Settlement Bill and Heretaunga Tamatea Claims Settlement Bill passed through their first readings and were referred to the Maori Affairs Committee. See

On Tuesday, Mr Finlayson signed a $165 million agreement in principle with Maniapoto, the tribe that led the 1860s Waikato rebellion, and had little or no land confiscated. This tribe is now being paid almost the same as Waikato-Tainui, the tribe that partook in that rebellion, had massive areas of land confiscated, and received a settlement of $170 million in 1995. See

Finlayson: Water tax would re-open settlements

Mr Finlayson warned last week that Labour's water taxes could force existing full-and-final Treaty of Waitangi settlements to be opened for renegotiation with iwi.

Labour’s water policy overturned accepted policy of successive Labour and National Governments of the past 25 years that no one owned the water, he said.

Governments applying a tax on water was an assertion of Crown ownership "and then that gives rise to the counter assertion that Maori own water", he said.

"It opens a complete Pandora's Box. I'd like to know [if] it is Labour Party policy that, after all the work we've done, by both political parties over 25 years, are they proposing to re-open treaty settlements so that this matter can be looked at?” he said.


Prebble: Water tax would turbo-charge gravy train

“Labour created the Waitangi grievance industry; Labour’s water tax will transform the Waitangi gravy train into an ocean-going liner,” former ACT Party leader Richard Prebble told a political meeting in Auckland last week.

“It is easy to predict that half of the water tax will go to Maori”, he said, adding “National maybe a frustrating visionless party but one thing they know about is government, they have had a lot of practice.”

“National knows if you charge for water you concede you can own water. That raises the question, who does own New Zealand’s water. Maybe it is not the government. Maybe it is Maori,” he said.

“Prebble’s law. A tax on farmers’ using water today will be a tax on everyone’s water tomorrow.  Again, Labour does not just want to use the water tax to clean up rivers but some of the money, undefined, will go to Maori,” he said.


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