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Finlayson slams Tamihere claim evidence

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Former Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson has made the unusual step of appearing before the Waitangi Tribunal into its hearing on Hauraki Overlapping Claims.

Negotiations for the Hauraki claims started in 2009, shortly after he became minister, and many of the decisions under dispute were made by him.

However, as he no longer held a ministerial warrant he said it was not appropriate to give evidence about those decisions, and it should be left to current officials.

He wanted to refute some of the more extreme allegations about the crown’s conduct and motivations.

In his written brief he described much of the evidence put up by Ngāti Porou ki Hauraki negotiator John Tamihere as fiction.

He rejected the suggestion the crown was looking for a quick settlement or that it would attempt settlement in disregard of neighbouring iwi rights and interests.

His concern was to create just and durable settlements with the crown.

Mr Finalyson remembered the celebrations Ngāi Te Rangi held when it signed its settlement in December 2013, and he was disappointed the tribe had reneged on commitments regarding the Athenree forest, the allocation of rights of first refusal properties, and the conservation framework areas for Tauranga Moana and Hauraki iwi.

The hearing closed on Friday with evidence from Hauraki Māori Trust Board chief executive John McInteer, who said the iwi and the wider Hauraki community was frustrated it could not conclude its settlement and move into the development phase.

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