Iwi to get cash top-up

The Crown has confirmed a cash top-up payment of $138.5 million will be paid to Ngai Tahu and Waikato-Tainui, following confirmation Treaty settlements have exceeded the $1 billion mark.

Both iwi negotiated a special relativity mechanism with the Crown as part of their Treaty of Waitangi settlements.

This week, the Crown and South Island-based iwi confirmed to the Otago Daily Times that clause was triggered for the year ending June 30, and the $1 billion mark had been exceeded.

The top-up mechanism effectively entitles Ngai Tahu to 16.1% and Waikato-Tainui 17% of all future settlements now the $1 billion in 1994-dollar terms has been exceeded.

Ngai Tahu kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon said the iwi always thought the Crown would exceed the $1 billion fiscal envelope, and the relativity mechanism acted as an insurance for future generations.

"We were the first to go through the first tribunal process, and the Government had come out with the fiscal envelope policy ... so it was an insurance policy."

The Crown has calculated in 1994-dollar terms that the amount payable to Ngai Tahu was $45.6 million, but when adjusted for inflation stood at $68.5 million, in 2012-dollar terms.

Waikato Tainui will receive a cash payment of $70 million.

Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Chris Finlayson said in a statement it was the decision of both iwi when to exercise their rights under the relativity mechanism.

"After the initial relativity payments, both iwi may seek a further payment in accordance with the relativity clause in five years' time in relation to further settlements reached over that intervening period."

Mr Solomon confirmed the payment was cash as opposed to shares or assets, and the iwi had people reviewing the Crown's calculations. He said the iwi always believed the amount would be triggered, "but we had no idea how long it would take." However, time was not an issue for the iwi and its nearly 50,000 members as "things happen when they are ready to happen so you just sit back and wait".

"We are pretty careful with the way we handle our money, at the forefront always is the people in our community and the money will be invested wisely for this generation and future generations to come."

Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu representatives would meet later this month to discuss the payment, and it was too early to commit those funds towards Christchurch rebuilding work.


Treaty claim line

• In 1985 Labour Government legislated to allow Treaty of Waitangi claims backdated to 1840.
• Ngai Tahu claim lodged 1986.
• Hearings held between 1987-89.
• Original Ngai Tahu settlement was for $170 million, with a relativity clause that entitled Ngai Tahu to a top-up payment if the $1 billion fiscal envelope was exceeded.
• That clause was triggered this week.

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