Bickering seen to hurt Ngapuhi

By Mike Barrington of the Northern Advocate -
Pita Tipene. Photo / Supplied
Pita Tipene. Photo / Supplied

The Crown Forestry Rental Trust (CFRT) is failing Ngapuhi through its internal bickering, say Te Kotahitanga o nga Hapu Ngapuhi co-chairmen Pita Tipene and Rudy Taylor.

The process which Ngapuhi had been following to resolve Treaty grievances had been placed in jeopardy by the trust's internal conflicts over funding for stage two of the Waitangi Tribunal's Te Paparahi o Te Raki inquiry, the pair state in a message to trust chairwoman Angela Foulkes.

"While we acknowledge the assistance provided by the Crown to resource the first two weeks of hearings, the lack of certainty that surrounds the ongoing funding of the tribunal process by the CFRT does little to inspire confidence in a process that is purportedly intended to be one of healing and reconciliation," the Te Kotahitanga leaders say.

In reply, Ms Foulkes said the NZ Maori Council and its co-chairman Sir Taihakurei (Edward) Durie had applied to the High Court for Maori Council member John Tamihere to replace Sir Taihakurei on the trust when he had a conflict of interest.

While the Crown is funding the second week of the stage two hearing next week, no financial arrangements have been made for the hearing of Whangaroa taiwhenua claims on July 8-12 and many following weeks of stage two hearings.

The Advocate wrote to Ms Foulkes asking for an update on the High Court case and the options trustees were exploring to fund the hearings. She was also asked if there were previous instances of stalled trust funding threatening a Treaty claims process as far advanced as Ngapuhi's.

The trust replied: "The matters on which you are seeking clarity are currently before the High Court and as such we are prevented from entering into a public discussion on these matters. The trust is not aware of instances similar to this current issue that has delayed its ability to consider funding requests."

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