Waikato-Tainui tipped to buy Ihumatao land

Wealthy tribe Waikato-Tainui may buy disputed land at Ihumatao from Fletchers for around $39-million, according to NewsHub.[1]

The prospect of an iwi role emerged when former Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson said protest leader Pania Newton’s march on Thursday should be south to meet Tainui, instead of to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s office in Mount Albert.

"All the iwi that have settled around this area have Tainui links. Kingi Tuheitia's been there. I think it's a fantastic opportunity for Tainui to step up - they're very, very wealthy - and say, 'Right - we'll buy the land commercially. Nothing to do with the Crown at all,” Mr Finlayson said.

Waikato-Tainui became wealthy through the Treaty settlement process, having received $170-million in 1995, as well as subsequent top-ups of $70-million in 2012, $190-million in 2017, and $16.6-million last year.

Top-ups will continue at a rate of 17 percent of all settlements from last year until the end of the process and proceed on top of pay-outs received under the Waikato-Maniapoto Maori Claims Settlement Act 1946.

The tribe’s main business entity, Tainui Group Holdings, trades as a charity that pays no income tax.

We launched a petition on August 1 which asks the police to uphold the rights of the landowner by evicting the protesters, and for the Government to regard Treaty settlements involving that area as full and final, to allow both Te Kawerau a Maki and Fletchers to proceed with their lawful business.

We have picked up 2415 signatures but we still need your support. Please sign the petition at http://chng.it/xPN6P55k

[1] https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2019/08/tainui-to-buy-ihum-tao-land-sources.html?fbclid=IwAR3Ty2QrC4gZdYtAMHNo0sBUveto-M3gee6P_ULqgYfCWNsJpKFz3MuLo4c

Costs, delays, contradictions, dog coastal claims

Funding, engagement with the Crown, “protective” applications, overlapping applications, mapping, and the role of the Attorney-General combine to bog the 580 claims by iwi/hapu groups to rights and title to the coastal area, according to a minute by Justice Churchman.[1]

The process poses a substantial cost on the Crown. With court hearing fees of $1600 per day and cases set down for weeks, not days, a fee waiver has been sought although the Crown has confirmed that it will meet costs.

Lengthy delays are likely. Since the High Court is processing just 202 claims, the remaining 378 are bogging down the Attorney General’s office and a delay of 18 months is likely before the Crown decides the entities it wishes to deal with.

The so-called “protective” applications by the New Zealand Maori Council for the entire coast, plus numerous overlapping claims, combine to undermine the key qualification to claim rights or title, that of exclusive use since 1840. If everyone has been using the claimed areas no one can claim exclusive use.

Meanwhile, the High Court asked for numerous maps to be re-done to a more acceptable standard.

There is pressure from claimants for the Attorney General, who is the sole representative of the people of New Zealand, to have no role in the process. 

Claimants also want the High Court to declare that resource consents issued since 1991 do not constitute “substantial interruption” of exclusive use of the area by claimant entities.

Hobson’s Pledge last week launched a petition which asks Parliament to amend the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 to restore public ownership of the coastal area, put all claims through the High Court, repeal customary marine title, while affirming customary rights.

We have picked up 2533 signatures. We need your support. The petition may be signed at http://chng.it/stXwrrtFLY

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[1] Minute No 2 of Churchman J, July 25, 2019. https://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/the-courts/high-court/high-court-lists/the-most-recent-minutes