Two iwi have quietly been paid huge top-ups, totalling $370 million, to their supposed "full and final" Treaty of Waitangi settlements, Stuff reported today. Waikato-Tainui received $190 million and the South Island's Ngai Tahu $180 million – more than they originally settled for in 1995 and 1998, respectively.
The Government made the payments on December 15 without any public announcement, but they were discovered by Stuff and confirmed by the Office of Treaty Settlements this week.
In response to Stuff's inquiries, Ngai Tahu released information about the pay-out to its 58,000 iwi members, who hadn't been told about it.
The payments were made because of "relativity" clauses the tribes negotiated during the "fiscal envelope" settlement process in the mid-1990s.
It meant that once total Treaty settlement spending throughout the country reached $1 billion, the two iwi were entitled to a percentage of all other tribes' settlements as a top-up.
For Tainui, the figure was 17 per cent, valued in 1994 dollars, and for Ngai Tahu, 16.1 per cent.
With total financial redress paid to 75 tribes since 1989 at around $3.5 billion, the Government is the gift that just keeps on giving for these two tribes, both of which had full and final settlements in the 1940s.
The current round of settlements is courtesy of Sir Geoffrey Palmer, and the notorious top-up clauses were courtesy of Sir Douglas Graham.
Western BOP heading for Maori wards vote
A poll looks almost certain to be held to challenge the decision to have separate Maori seats on the Western Bay of Plenty District Council.
Councillors who opposed the decision to have a Maori ward or wards for the 2019 and 2022 elections have succeeded in raising the 1708 signatures needed to force the council into holding a district-wide poll on the issue.
''We are feeling comfortable about achieving 3000 signatures,'' Te Puke councillor Mike Lally said.
The four other districts facing Maori wards proposals – Whakatane, Palmerston North, Manawatu, and Kaikoura – are in varying stages of progress towards their signature goals.
Don Brash to help in Feilding, PNth, on Wednesday
Hobson’s Pledge spokesman Don Brash will visit Feilding and Palmerston North on Wednesday to rally support for petitions seeking district-wide votes on proposals for Māori wards in both areas.
Don will spend the morning around Feilding's Manchester Square and the afternoon in Palmerston North's Square near The Plaza, talking with people about signing the poll petitions, which have to be submitted before February 21.
If you are in the Palmerston North and Feilding area on Wednesday, feel free to help.
You may download Palmerston North and Manawatu petition forms from http://www.hobsonspledge.nz/signatures_needed_for_petitions_on_local_body_maori_wards, get a clipboard, grab a few pens, and come and help us collect signatures.
Manawatu District councillor Andrew Quarrie, who voted against the ward proposal, is leading the campaign in Feilding, and researcher Don Esslemont leads Palmerston North.
A poll requires the signatures of 2727 registered Palmerston North city electors and 1004 registered Manawatu district council voters.
The Stuff report said that if a poll on the issue was necessary in Palmerston North, it could cost between $100,000 and $125,000.
In the Manawatu District, council spokesman Paul Stein said the poll would cost between $80,000 and $100,000.
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