National has indicated it will change its policy of requiring all treaty claims to be settled by 2010. Party this is inevitable – you are not in Government so there is no way you can keep that as a policy when you might not be in Government until 2009.
But the original deadline was too tough anyway in my opinion. I don’t think all claims could have been settled in five years even with the greater level of resources that National wanted to give to negotiators and the Waitangi Tribunal.
Part of the battle has been won. Labour has said all claims must be lodged by 2008. 25 years since historical claims could be lodged this is definitely long enough.
If all claims must be in by 2008, when could we expect to see them settled by? If a Government gave priority and resources I think around 2014 is possible.
It will be interesting to see how much progress Labour makes over the next three years.