Clarification of “central theme” to be inquired into during urgent hearings
On 27 May 2016 the Waitangi Tribunal released its decision to refine the matters to be inquired into concerning the “central theme” that it addressed in its earlier decision of 2 May 2016. This decision came after receiving submissions from Claimants, Ngātiwai Trust Board (NTB) and the Crown. In reviewing submissions the Tribunal was specific around what they were going to focus on and what was outside the scope of upcoming hearings. While there were a number of other matters covered during the review, the key decisions are outlined below.
- In response to submissions from a number of claimants stating that they should be included in the “central theme”, Judge P J Savage is clear in his report on the grounds that he has granted urgency, “the central issue relates to the Treaty relationship between the hapū and the Crown and not with other groups”, and in his report he declines to revisit that decision.
- Requests were also made to the tribunal by claimants to look at NTB’s internal processes, accountability and transparency which claimants felt needed to be included in the scope of this inquiry. However, Judge Savage in his reports says “The question upon which I have allowed urgency specifically excludes internal process as a central issue. These submissions are an attempt to have me revisit the decision that I have already made. I decline to broaden the scope of the grant of urgency.”
- In relation to submissions received from the Crown that the inquiry should only concern the five hapu who have taken issue with the Crowns decision to recognise the Deed of Mandate, the Judge stated “The issue as currently framed does not restrict claimants and does not restrict hapu except to the extent that they must be named in the Deed of Mandate. The intention is that all claimants and any hapu referred to in the Deed of Mandate may be heard.”
Judge Savage advises that given the time that it has taken to finalise the “central theme” he has granted an extension of time to file evidence until 17 June 2016.
We will now await the Tribunal to establish a panel to hear the claims and for the date and duration of hearings to be set.
As the Board diverts it attention to preparing for and participating in hearings it has paused any decision making concerning the establishment of the supporting structures required for the Terms of Negotiations phase. These structures included the establishment of the Negotiations Team, Kaumatua Advisors, Hapū & Marae representatives, a Research Group and two additional Treaty Claims Committee Members. However, we want to continue to have discussions with you, our whanau, hapū / iwi around these structures, and will continue to have hui to enable these discussions.
The Waitangi Tribunal report further clarifying the “central theme” for the Ngātiwai Mandate inquiry is available for you to read on our website, www.ngatiwai.iwi.nz, which can be found on the “Resources” page under the section “Terms of Negotiation”.
As we progress through the hearings process the Board will ensure that we continue to communicate openly and update our members on this important matter.