Relativity update – from Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu has received its annual government statement on relativity.

This year’s statement initiates a process whereby Ngāi Tahu can uplift a 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.

The government’s statement on relativity issued this week, shows that the Crown accepts the $1 billion mark has been exceeded. The Crown has calculated an amount payable in 1994 dollars of circa $45.6m which, when adjusted for inflation, is circa $68.5m in 2012 dollars.

Kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon says it is now is up to Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to determine whether it agrees with the Crown assessment of what is owed and to decide when to uplift its payment. “These matters will be discussed by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu at its November meeting. Ngāi Tahu has expert advisors that will look closely at the Crown’s interpretation of what should be included in the calculations and will advise Te Rūnanga accordingly.”

“This is an important juncture for Ngāi Tahu,'” says Solomon. When we decide to uplift these funds they 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.”

Mark Solomon is not overly concerned about the possibility of disagreement regarding the calculation. “There are options available to the parties for resolution of such matters.”