Treaty of Waitangi settlements due
Chris Finlayson (Victoria Evans)
The New Zealand government is making progress in settling Treaty of Waitangi claims with Maori and will sign more agreements before Christmas, Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson says.
"Between now and Christmas I hope to sign seven deeds of settlement and three agreements in principle," Mr Finlayson told programme Marae Investigates today.
He said there were between 40 and 60 claims outstanding.
"I believe if we keep up the current pace all those who want and are able to engage in negotiations should have a heads of agreement or an agreement in principle by 2014."
Tainui were the first tribe to settle in 1995 and Ngai Tahu signed in 1997.
Mr Finlayson said it was "common knowledge" that the $1 billion figure originally set for total settlements had been breached.
The two tribes may be entitled to further payments because the cap has been breached.
"The best thing that the Crown can do is act according to contract and not shy away from those contractual responsibilities," Mr Finlayson said.
The Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 between the British Crown and Maori chiefs and claims relating to the treaty have been a significant issue in race relations and politics.