Ngai Tahu does not have to wait until all comprehensive claims are settled before the tribe can claim its relativity-clause payment, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu kaiwhakahaere (chairman) Mark Solomon says.

"No, the Crown has publicly acknowledged the mechanism could be triggered this year or next.

"The process is that the Crown and Ngai Tahu agree the total value of settlements in 1994 dollar terms is over $1 billion, reach consensus on how much over and then agree as to how and when to pay."

Asked if he was worried about any political heat the payment might trigger, Mr Solomon said: "Personally speaking, I would be disappointed if the relativity mechanism was used to generate political capital.


"That is because from a legal and an ethical standpoint, most people would acknowledge the importance of a signed contract."

Waikato-Tainui did not respond to requests for comment.