The chairman of Tuhoronuku is willing to be "flexible enough" to get the Ngapuhi Treaty settlement moving, saying "several million dollars in interest" is lost every month it is delayed.

However the co-chairman of Te Kotahitanga says Tuhoronuku are the ones who have held things up.

Hone Sadler, chairman of Tuhoronuku - who have the crown-recognised mandate to negotiate Ngapuhi's Treaty claims - said more than $200 million in interest had been lost since the mandate was granted in September 2011.

"[That's] money that could have been used to build houses for our people, contribute towards improving health and welfare outcomes for our whanau, including providing jobs and other opportunities," he said.

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Mr Sadler said the figures were based on the assumption that the Ngapuhi settlement would be worth $250,000,000 (based on previous estimates); and that former Prime Minister John Key had said he was willing to put up $50,000,000 to kick-start the process.

Mr Sadler said Tuhoronuku met with Minister for Treaty Negotiations Andrew Little on February 4, when Mr Little said the Crown would put together a proposal on what a negotiation framework might look like and come back to them in March.

"There are going to be things part of that plan that we may not like but we're going to be flexible enough so that we can get this redress package moving.

"Hapu, that's what we're flexible around is that. The [Waitangi] Tribunal report didn't raise all these other issues that the Maranga Mai report raises ... It gave some options as to what to do and one of those was to strengthen hapu participation," he said.

Minister of Treaty Negotiations Andrew Little and Maori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta at an open hui for Ngapuhi in November. Photo / Maori TV
Minister of Treaty Negotiations Andrew Little and Maori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta at an open hui for Ngapuhi in November. Photo / Maori TV

Mr Little, who has held open meetings in Northland to hear from Ngapuhi, was not available for comment.

The Waitangi Tribunal report followed an urgent inquiry into the Crown's recognition of Tuhoronuku's mandate.

The tribunal found that although Tuhoronuku's mandate was legitimate, its structures undermined hapu rangatiratanga (sovereignty).

The Maranga Mai Report, which recommended a way forward, was produced by an engagement group - comprising the Crown, Tuhoronuku and Te Kotahitanga - formed to address issues raised in the tribunal's report.

Pita Tipene, co-chairman of Te Kotahitanga, says Tuhoronuku are holding the settlement process up. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Pita Tipene, co-chairman of Te Kotahitanga, says Tuhoronuku are holding the settlement process up. Photo / Michael Cunningham

Pita Tipene, co-chairman of Te Kotahitanga - which opposes the Crown's recognition of Tuhoronuku's mandate - said Maranga Mai was the way forward.

"We've been extremely frustrated that Tuhoronuku have held up that process. So when they say we're missing out on millions of dollars every month, really they should look at themselves."

But Mr Sadler said Maranga Mai was only a report.

"We had accepted certain parts on the Maranga Mai report. The thing is, right from the start our participation in that process - we weren't taken notice of. Our issues weren't taken notice of."

Mr Tipene, who said Te Kotahitanga had also met with Mr Little on February 4, said it was important to get things right to ensure the settlement was accurate, rather than rushing through the process.

"I think it's been proven in the past you can be pushing things through as fast as you can and then you're left to pick up the pieces afterwards."

Mr Tipene said it was important to talk to the Government in more creative ways on how to work in a partnership, as outlined in the Treaty, to address housing, education, employment and economic development so that each year there is a part of each budget being implemented and managed in Ngapuhi.

"There's a lot of kaupapa already going on, on the ground, forestry initiatives for instance, and settlement is only one part. It's almost like here in Ngapuhi we're twiddling our thumbs waiting for settlement. Well we're not."