Prime Minister John Key has reinstated a Cabinet committee dedicated to Treaty of Waitangi settlements - the first time such a committee has existed since Jim Bolger was Prime Minister more than a decade ago.
Mr Key will chair the committee and has included his top ministers as he moves to become more involved with the settlements process.
Mr Key's relationship with Maori and the support deal with the Maori Party will dominate the beginning of the political year when Mr Key attends Ratana festivities this month and spends Waitangi Day at Waitangi - his first outings as Prime Minister among the wider Maori population.
Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson said the fact Mr Key chose to chair the new committee reflected the priority he was giving to Treaty settlements. National's goal is to settle all claims by 2014.
Mr Key was also considering bringing the Office of Treaty Settlements into the Prime Minister's office - rather than under the Ministry of Justice - to expedite progress.
The new committee will meet fortnightly and also be charged with claims under the Seabed and Foreshore Act.
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia said the new committee showed a healthy engagement which allowed several ministers to become involved.
"The commitment to try and get those settlements progressed is another reason for having it, and there wouldn't be anyone I come across who doesn't want to progress their settlements."
Mr Bolger first set up a Cabinet committee specifically for Treaty settlements in the 1990s. The committee disappeared under Jenny Shipley and Treaty issues were included in the strategy committee - which was high-powered but had a wide brief.
Former Prime Minister Helen Clark used a similar structure by including Treaty settlements in the policy committee she chaired.
The new committee includes high-ranked ministers Bill English, Gerry Brownlee and Simon Power as well as both Maori Party ministers, Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples. National ministers Georgina te Heuheu, Chris Finlayson, Tim Groser, Phil Heatley and Richard Worth are also on it.