Minister welcomes Wharere farm talks

  • Christopher Finlayson
Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations

Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson has welcomed state owned enterprise Landcorp’s decision to provide Ngāti Makino and their neighbouring iwi, a further opportunity to purchase the Wharere Farms near Te Puke.

“I passed on the iwi’s concerns that when Ngāti Makino was negotiating a Treaty settlement with the Crown, three-and-a-half years ago, it was determined that the land was not available to be purchased as part of the Treaty settlement as it was regarded at that time to be a strategic asset for the company,” Mr Finlayson said. “However since that time, with the aggregation of dairy farms in the Taupō area managed by Landcorp (Shanghai Pengxin Farms and the redevelopment of 8,000 Ha in Wairakei) the farms had become isolated and unable to be clustered with other dairy operations and had as a result, ceased to be strategic for Landcorp.”

“Ngati Makino’s Treaty settlement and legislation was only passed in July 2012, and the Government is conscious of the fact that Landcorp’s circumstances had changed during that three-year negotiation period, and in light of that has requested Landcorp to consider granting Ngati Makino further time to enter a commercial bid in conjunction with other iwi for the farms.”

“Although Landcorp had followed all the agreed protocols with the Office of Treaty Settlements, the Landcorp Board after considering the exceptional circumstances in this case and the very short period of time since Ngati Makino’s settlement, has agreed to cancel the tender process and allow Ngāti Makino and their neighbouring iwi, an opportunity to make a formal commercial offer for the farms.”

“We recognise that throughout this process, Landcorp has acted appropriately and in good faith, and in accordance with its obligations under the State Owned Enterprises Act.”

“I encourage dialogue between our commercial state owned enterprises and post-settlement iwi,” Mr Finlayson said. “Settlements can empower groups to pursue economic development and business opportunities.”