Andrew Little failing the hapū of Whakatohea.
Following a vote process process proposed by the Waitangi Tribunal on whether there was support within Whakatohea for a negotiation process or a historical Waitangi Tribunal process, it was very clear that all hapū in Whakatohea supported a stop to negotiations and the commencement of a Historical Tribunal Inquiry.

Opotiki – Church Street – with Sculpture – New Zealand

However, one of the lawyers for the claimants, Te Kani Williams, says that Andrew Little is failing to accede to that vote outcome and instead is trying to push ahead with negotiations in spite of strong opposition.

Mr Williams says; Minister Little is trying to just to force the negotiations process on Whakatohea, just like the Crown did in 1996, and is suggesting that 56% of individuals who voted in support of negotiations proceeding constitutes sufficient numbers of Whakatohea to proceed. Thats ridiculous as it ignores that 7 out of 7 hapū, so 100% voted to stop negotiations.

Minister Littles suggestion to progress negotiations in Whakatohea flys in the face of the Crown saying in Ngapuhi that they would not proceed unless they had 75% in support of negotiations. They didnt get that so negotiations there are at standstill. Why are different standards and much lower ones being applied in Whakatohea”

The claimants say that there is little point in engaging in a Tribunal hearing after a negotiation process has completed as it will be too late to have the benefit of the Tribunal commissioned research during that time as well as the benefit that a Waitangi Tribunal report would provide for those negotiations. Similarly, Whakatohea Māori want to focus on delivering evidence during a Tribunal process and not be distracted by suggested parallel negotiations. They dont have the time or resources to engage in both at the same time and dont want to the distraction.

Mr Williams says that Andrew Little needs to listen to the claimants and hapū and not a few comprising the Whakatohea Pre Settlement Trust who clearly, under the Crowns own policies, do not have sufficent support from Whakatohea to progress negotiations.