Former Labour Party cabinet minister Paul Swain has been appointed the Crown's lead negotiator in talks with Ngati Porou on the settlement of historical grievances, Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson said today.

Mr Swain was an MP for 18 years and held several senior portfolios during Labour's nine years in office.

He retired from politics at the last election and now runs a consulting company.

Mr Finlayson said he was pleased Mr Swain had agreed to take on the role.

"By engaging talented people like Mr Swain, the Government is again demonstrating through action its commitment to reaching full and lasting settlements of historical grievances under the Treaty of Waitangi," he said.