Hone Harawira’s newly launched Mana Party has just released its first policy statement which details their position on Te Tiriti o Waitangi Settlements. The policy changes seek to ensure that claims lodged under the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 are settled more justly.
Key priorities include, removing the deadline for lodging of claims which was imposed for 1 September 2008, increased funding to the Waitangi Tribunal while increasing the overall power of the Tribunal to make binding recommendations.
The following details their policy in full:
MANA PARTY POLICY STATEMENT
The purpose of the Treaty settlements system is to justly settle Crown breaches of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. A suite of policy changes is needed to ensure claims lodged under the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 are settled more justly. Mana Party policy priorities are to:
- Remove the Deadline for lodging of claims which was imposed for 1 September 2008 and extend the timeframe for the settlement of historical claims with the Waitangi Tribunal to better enable iwi with such claims to properly research and state their cases.
- Increase resourcing of the Waitangi Tribunal so that it is better able to hear and expedite the settlement of claims in a fair and timely manner.
- Expand the jurisdiction of the Waitangi Tribunal to make binding recommendations in certain cases.
- Increase the value of settlements to iwi by introducing a graduated system of settlement rather than a one-off settlement package. This would replace the current full-and-final settlement system and would enable the Crown to justly settle claims over time.
- Establish an independent Treaty of Waitangi Commission, where the Commissioner is elected by M?ori voters at general elections. A key role of the Commission would be to oversee the recommendations of the Waitangi Tribunal and the negotiations of the Office of Treaty Settlements to better protect the rights of iwi claimants.
- Prioritise the return of Crown owned lands including those held by State Owned Enterprises where there are proven claims over those lands in keeping with the maxim Me riro whenua atu, me hoki whenua mai.
- Ensure that the texts of He Whakaputanga o Ng? Rangatiratanga o Niu Tireni and Te Tiriti o Waitangi are the reference points in settlement dealings between iwi and the Crown, and not the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.
- Abolish Crown appointment of brokers and facilitators to effect settlements, and ensure iwi have the capacity to select their own leaders and appoint their own advisers without Crown interference.
- Begin a process to settle the way in which political and legal power is structured in Aotearoa New Zealand. Settlement must include meaningful constitutional transformation.