Relativity decision from – Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu
Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu has made the decision to uplift the approximately $68.5 million of redress which the Crown has acknowledged it owes to Ngāi Tahu under the Relativity Mechanism in the Ngāi Tahu Deed of Settlement.
The relativity mechanism ensures that the value of the Ngāi Tahu Settlement maintains its relative value against all other Settlements. Earlier this month, the Crown notified Ngāi Tahu that the value of all Settlements had exceeded $1 billion as calculated in 1994 dollars, and it acknowledged that Ngāi Tahu was now owed a deferred payment of approximately $68.5m. While there are still some areas of dispute with the interpretation of the mechanism, the Deed allows those matters to be resolved in due course.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon has repeated his statements made to media earlier this month, that he is confident any disagreements can be resolved quickly. “I am not overly concerned about the possibility of disagreement regarding the calculation as there are good options for resolving these matters. It is my view that the Crown will feel the same and will work with us in this regard.”
“This is an important milestone for Ngāi Tahu,'” says Solomon. “These funds will be used to enhance the wellbeing of our people. This means investment at all levels for the benefit of iwi, hapū and whānau and communities throughout Te Waipounamu.”
Ngāi Tahu has a mechanism in its Treaty Settlement that ensures the value of its Settlement maintains its relative value against all other Settlements. The Relativity Clause was triggered earlier this month when the Crown notified Ngāi Tahu that the value of all Settlements had exceeded $1 billion as calculated in 1994 dollars.
Waikato-Tainui has a similar clause in its Settlement.
The triggering of the clause enables Ngāi Tahu to uplift what is essentially a deferred component of its original Settlement, which was deferred in 1998 due to the Crown’s fiscal envelope policy.
Ngāi Tahu was one of the first Iwi to enter settlement negotiations with the Crown and at the time the Crown’s policy was to conclude all historical Settlements within the fiscal envelope of $1 billion.
As Ngāi Tahu did not believe that the envelope would hold, a special relativity mechanism was negotiated with the Crown to resolve the issue. Under this mechanism, if the value of all Treaty Settlements between 1994 and 2044 is more than $1 billion measured in 1994 dollar terms, then Ngāi Tahu will be entitled to a payment from the Crown to ensure its position is maintained relative to other tribes that settle.