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, and better enhance the mana motuhake and tino rangatiratanga of iwi and hapū.
MANA policy priorities are to:
Give greater powers to Iwi and Hapū to determine their settlements
- Restore the right of iwi and hapū to lodge historical claims with the Waitangi Tribunal, a right which was removed when a 1 September 2008 deadline was made law.
- Abandon the Crown’s 2017 deadline for finalising Treaty settlements and instead have them commit to resolving claims fairly and justly.
- Establish an independent Treaty of Waitangi Commission, where the Commissioner is elected by Māori voters at general elections. A key role would be to oversee the recommendations of the Waitangi Tribunal and the negotiations of OTS to better protect the rights of iwi and hapū claimants.
- Ensure the texts of He Whakaputanga o Ngā Rangatiratanga o Niu Tireni and Te Tiriti o Waitangi are the reference points in settlement dealings between iwi and hapū and the Crown, and not the Crown’s principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.
- Abolish Crown appointment of brokers and facilitators to effect settlements, and ensure iwi and hapū have the capacity to select their own leaders and appoint their own advisers without Crown interference.
- Abolish the Crown’s ‘large natural groupings’ policy and instead enable iwi and hapū to determine for themselves who they will work with.
Extend the resources and jurisdiction of the Waitangi Tribunal
- 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 across a wider range of cases.
Increase the value of settlements and prioritise the return of lands
- Increase the value of settlements to iwi and hapū 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.
- 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.
Advocate for constitutional transformation
- 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.