Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox has let rip at NZ First after it pulled its support for two Treaty settlements just days before a special sitting of Parliament to pass them into law.

Hundreds were due to come to Parliament from Northland, Manawatu and Taranaki on Friday to watch as five Treaty settlements were passed into law in a special 'extended hours' sitting agreed on by all parties.

However, a change of position from NZ First on two of the settlements resulted in the abandonment of the day.

Instead the final readings will have to be rescheduled on a normal sitting day.


Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee said that meant it might not be possible to pass all the settlements this year.

Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox said she was furious given NZ First had supported the settlements until the last minute and hundreds of people had booked to travel down for historic moments for their iwi.

"I'm just so appalled at the utter disrespect of NZ First to pull a stunt like this."

However, NZ First leader Winston Peters said they were being unfairly blamed and Brownlee and Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson were being "hysterical" by calling it off.

He insisted Parliament could still sit to pass the bills on Friday provided enough MPs gave up other commitments to attend Parliament to ensure they passed.

"These bills can all go through on time, but it will require members to be here and not on holiday.

When parliament sits, parliamentarians attend."

NZ First's opposition means a formal 'party vote' has to be taken rather than a unanimous voice vote, so more MPs are required in Parliament.

The bills scheduled for Friday were the Ngaruahine, Te Atiawa, Taranaki, Rangitane o Manawatu and Ngatikahu Ki Whangaroa settlements.


NZ First had changed its position on the settlements for Whangaroa and Taranaki because of concerns about a land allocation in Whangaroa's and provision for non-elected representatives in Taranaki's.

The Government can only use 'extended hours' sittings when it has the agreement of all parties. It has often been used for bills such as Treaty settlements to ensure they do not get held up by other bills in Parliament.

​It was further bad news for Treaty Minister Chris Finlayson who so far this week has also been called on to help resolve the Kermadecs stand off and is trying to salvage Ngapuhi's fraught settlement process.

On Tuesday night, Finlayson held a meeting with Northland based MPs including Labour's Ke​lvin Davis, National's Shane Reti, and NZ First's Pita Paraone to try and get a resolution on a negotiating body for Ngapuhi.

Finlayson had initially given Ngapuhi a deadline of Monday to present him with agreement on a negotiating body if they wanted to be on the work programme for 2017, but has now said he is hoping further talks will resolve the issue by the end of the week.

A proposal for a hapu-led process developed during the Maranga Mai process was approved by Finlayson and the Te Kotahitanga grouping of hapu.

However, it did not get the required 75 per cent vote of Tuhoronuku, the group which had the initial mandate to negotiate.

Tuhoronuku is understood to be considering legal action if it does not get that mandate.

Tuhoronuku's representative Hone Sadler has written to iwi members, saying the sticking points with Maranga Mai include the status of urban Maori, the position of elders on the settlement body and the desire for a unified Ngapuhi settlement rather than a fractured settlement with carve outs for different hapu.