Shhh…don’t tell anyone, let’s hide payments to iwi during Christmas rush

Prime Minister Jim Bolger signing the Tainui “full and final” Treaty Settlement with Dame Te Arikinui Te Ataairangikahu at Turangawaewae Marae in 1995

The government has paid another $370 million to top up “full and final” Treaty settlements to Ngai Tahu and Tainui.

They also snuck it through without announcement before Christmas. So much for Jacinda Ardern’s pledge for greater transparency in government.

Two iwi have quietly been paid huge top-ups, totalling $370 million, to their supposed “full and final” Treaty of Waitangi settlements.

Waikato-Tainui received $190m and the South Island’s Ngāi Tahu $180m – 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.

Hobson’s Pledge comments:

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.

I said at the time of the settlements when everyone was moaning about a ‘fiscal envelope’ of a billion dollars that they should just triple it and be done with it. Turns out my numbers were much more realistic than and other government estimates.

Stuff reports:

Total Treaty settlement spending currently sits at $2.2 billion.

Both Tainui and Ngāi Tahu were paid $170m in their original settlements – but have now received $260m and $248m, respectively, in additional payments.

The clauses, agreed by the National Government of the day, were to induce the two iwi to become the first to settle and to ensure they were not disadvantaged, but have become something of a millstone around successive Governments’ necks.

Best way forward is to set a cut-off date, settle everything and be done with it. Fat chance with Labour in charge.

As for National…giving away all that money to Maori sure helped in collecting votes for National from Maori didn’t it? Oh wait…

 

-Fairfax, Hobson’s Pledge


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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