The deadline for filing historical (prior to 1992) Treaty of Waitangi claims is at midnight tonight.
Claimants have had over 20 years to file their claims, so the deadline is far from hasty as the Maori Party claim. Indeed as Chris Finlayson says, there needs to be an end to litigation at some stage.
The Waitangi Tribunal has been publicising the deadline and has generated several hundred claims. I honestly doubt a single genuine claim has not managed to be filed.
The good thing about today, is that from tomorrow on the number of unresolved historical grievance claims can only start reducing. God knows how long it will take to consider and hopefully resolve them all, but we will have a known number of claims for the Tribunal and Government to work through.
Dr Cullen has done a sterling job in advancing Treaty settlements since he took over from Mark Burton. If National win the election, they should aim to match Dr Cullen’s pace. Luckily they have considerable resources to call on:
- Chris Finlayson, who speny many years as Ngai Tahu’s lawyer and is very knowledgable in this area
- Tim Groser, one of NZ’s top negotiators (and the settlements are very much a negotiation)
- Georgina te Heuheu, a former member of the Waitangi Tribunal
Of course premature to speculate on what portfolios, MPs may get, but just wanting to show that the work of resolving historical grievances should continue, and settling such grievances in fair, full and final settlements is a win-win.