Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A good settlement

The government has reached a deal with Tuhoe to settle their outstanding historical claims. A key part of the deal is the transfer of Te Urewera from crown hands:

Under a deal announced today, the Crown will no longer own the National Park, which will be vested in a new legal identify created by legislation.

An establishment board will initially comprise equal numbers of Crown and Tuhoe nominees. Over time Tuhoe representation is expected to grow.

Ngai Tuhoe will also receive redress valued at about $170 million, putting their settlement on a par with two of the country's biggest iwi, Ngai Tahu and Tainui.

This looks to be a good compromise. Te Urewera is Tuhoe land, and it was stolen from them. The fact that it is now a National Park makes a straight return politically difficult, but thanks to the generousity of Tuhoe it looks like we've got a deal which protects the area (including public access) while recognising Tuhoe's mana. And looking at the press release, they're planning on greater protection:
Both parties are keen to seek higher international recognition for Te Urewera such as a UNESCO biosphere reserve to promote the areas’ unique values. The legislation will include key provisions from the National Parks Act such as the protection of natural and historic heritage, public input into management and public access into the future.
I don't think we have anything to fear from this model at all.

So, I wonder whether John Key will scupper this deal for a second time?