New strategy for resolving historical claims

The Crown has adopted a new strategy for resolving historical claims arising from abuse in state care that better reflects its principled response to the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry, State Services Minister Chris Hipkins and Attorney-General David Parker said today.

The review of the historical claims resolutions approach was directed by Cabinet as part of its commitment in April 2019 to six principles guiding the Crown’s response to the Abuse in Care Inquiry. These are: manaakitanga, openness, transparency, learning, being joined up and meeting our obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

The new Crown Resolution Strategy updates the current approach in several ways, including:

  • Being more transparent about what claimants can expect from the Crown
  • Giving claimants the right to involve whānau, hapu, iwi and community in the resolution process
  • Following settlement of a claim, being explicit that new or additional material information that a claimant becomes aware of can then be considered by the Crown
  • When claimants choose to litigate in court, the Crown will concede any factual matters that it doesn’t dispute
  • Explicit inclusion in the Crown Resolution Strategy of the six principles guiding the Crown’s response to the Abuse in Care Inquiry

The Ministers said the new strategy was not intended to pre-empt any findings from the Royal Commission’s public hearing on redress, scheduled for March next year. The strategy results from a review directed by Cabinet in April, well before the Commission had scheduled the redress hearing.

Further work is being done on two other areas of concern to claimants – producing options for central assessment or review of historical claims and reforming the Limitation Act, which sets time limits for historical claims.

The Ministers said consideration of these and other issues would draw on the evidence and recommendations from the Royal Commission’s redress hearing and investigations.

The new strategy, including commitments to further work, is explained here:

 https://ssc.govt.nz/assets/SSC-Site-Assets/Proactive-Releases/Review-of-Strategy-for-the-Resolution-of-Historic-Claims.pdf