PM Key in March – Te Urewera in Tuhoe hands – “complex but do-able” PM Key in May “off the table”

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John Key’s shock personal announcement that ownership of Te Urewera would not go to Tuhoe have months of negotiations continue to create fallout.

Details have emerged which suggest that the Government has considered returning Te Urewera back to Tuhoe “complex, but do-able” in a March meeting. Tuhoe chief negotiator Tamati Kruger said he and Mr Key went through the options, including co-management or dual ownership, and agreed that transferring title to the tribe was the only way forward.

Mr Key would not comment on the claim.

Mr Kruger said the agreement in principle to go before Cabinet would have vested ownership in Tuhoe’s ancestors to stop the land being sold. Tuhoe would have had the same powers and rights as any other property owner, but there would have been protections for public access and conservation values.

A Government source said direct ownership of the park had never been on the table but confirmed vesting ownership in ancestors was one option due to go to Cabinet.

Another had been to vest the park in Tuhoe on condition it would be gifted back to the nation, but Mr Kruger insisted that was rejected.

Now we will find out what happens when an unstoppable force hits a immovable object.

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