1994-1995 Maori L. Rev. 1 (1994-1995)

handle is hein.journals/maori1994 and id is 1 raw text is: The Maori Law Review
A monthly review of law affecting Maori


Tom Bennion
PO Box II 310
New Zealand
Phonelfax (04) 475 3681
Esoteric Publications
PO Box I 310
New Zealand
Fax (04) 383 7409
Copyright Tom Bennion 1994


The new year is a time for reflection and consideration of what lies
ahead. This issue contains statements of intent from various quarters
for the coming months.
The Speech from the Throne promised in this Parliamentary term bills
to modernise the laws relating to Maori trust boards and reserved lands,
but otherwise it would be steady as she goes.
The holiday period was more interesting. Pre-Christmas, Chairperson
Chief Judge Durie published a full state of the Waitangi Tribunal,
referring repeatedly to funding constraints. The Minister of Justice in
early January promised more funding for the claims process, from within
the Justice vote, and a publicity campaign on Treaty grievances con-
ducted personally through the pages of the Dominion (shouldn't a pro-
fessionally organised PR campaign be a priority?). But with 2 new prisons
to build and now night courts, will Justice find the money? And who
gets it and in what proportions; the tribunal, or the Treaty Policy Unit,
government's negotiating arm? In this regard the Justice Department
briefing papers were revealing for the emphasis they put on negotia-
tions, and little mention of the tribunal's funding concerns (this from
the Department which services the Waitangi Tribunal). Te Puni Kokiri
asked its Minister to consider whether direct negotiation is really a
fast track to claim settlements, and pondered the difficulties and dura-
bility of global settlements (ie Sealords) and fiscal envelopes. Pro-
fessor Alan Ward (Evening Post 20 January) stepped back and puts
things in a useful historical perspective. He suggested slowing down,
forgetting the year 2000 as a date to settle major claims (a date the
tribunal says it can meet) and establishing an accumulative settlement
fund. The fund building up for Crown forest settlements is a good il-
lustration of this approach.                                   i
Overshadowing all of this is the electoral reform debate (the tribunal
heard a claim this week), which makes a change of policy in this whole
area extremely likely at the next election. In light of that, academic
Mai Chen has suggested multi-party talks. Certainly the present party
based approach means that the Treaty of Waitangi Cabinet Committee
has a very homogeneous look (see page 9) and maybe could do with
some assistance?

ISSN 1172-8434

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