16 February, 2012
New standing orders help keep up momentum in Treaty settlements
The Government’s commitment to progressing Treaty settlements is being boosted by extended House sitting hours and utilising cognate bill options, Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson said today.
Mr Finlayson welcomed the decision of Parliament’s Business Committee to extend the House’s sitting hours for Thursday 16 February and to sit on Friday morning, in part to progress at six bills giving effect to settlements of historical Treaty claims.
“The government is committed to continuing the increased momentum in Treaty settlements of recent years,” Mr Finlayson said. “Innovations such as the use of cognate bills and extended sitting hours keep things moving and reduce the time iwi have to wait to take full advantage of settlement benefits. It also avoids the House having to go into urgency, and means that the wider legislative program is not affected.”
The government's goal of settling claims by 2014 has accelerated the pace at which historical settlements have been reached with iwi, meaning more legislation before the House in the short and medium term.
Cognate bills are where two or more bills on related matters are taken together for the purposes of discussion and debate, by leave of the House. The bills are voted on individually and considered separately at select committee.
The Ngāi Tāmanuhiri Claims Settlement Bill and Ngāti Mākino Claims Settlement Bill will receive their first readings as cognate bills in Parliament today.
The bills will give effect to the settlement of all historical Treaty of Waitangi claims of Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, an iwi from the Gisborne region and Ngāti Mākino, an iwi from the Bay of Plenty. The bills will be referred individually to the Māori Affairs Select Committee.
The Ngāti Mākino Claims Settlement Bill provides financial redress of $6.5 million. The settlement also provides for the transfer of over 3,400 hectares of Rotoehu Crown Forest Licensed Land. The Ngāti Makino Claims Settlement Bill also provides for the return of key cultural sites.
The extended sitting hours on 16 February will also include the Second Reading as cognate for Ngāti Whare and Ngāti Manawa Omnibus Bill, Ngāti Maniapoto (Waipa) River, Ngāti Pāhauwera and Ngāti Porou, which have been considered by the Maori Affairs Committee.
Last year Parliament adopted the recommendations of a Standing Orders Committee review to allow for extended sitting hours on a Thursday evening and Friday morning, if the Business Committee agrees.