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Ministers attack Waitangi Tribunal’s “increasingly activist” approach

Summarised by Centrist

The Waitangi Tribunal, key to New Zealand’s treaty settlement process, is facing renewed criticism from senior ministers, including ACT leader David Seymour and NZ First’s Shane Jones. 

According to ACT MP Todd Stephenson, the “increasingly activist” Tribunal “appears to regard itself as a parallel government that can intervene in the elected Government’s policy making process.”

However, Treaty and legal experts within Māoridom argue that the Tribunal is currently fulfilling its 1975 mandate. 

The coalition agreement has, included in it, a review aiming to realign the Tribunal with its “original intent.” 

The Tribunal’s urgent inquiry (one of six since the National-led coalition took power) of proposed changes to the Oranga Tamariki Act has been particularly thorny.  

Seymour has suggested winding up the Tribunal, while Jones has called for a review to refocus its scope. He accused it of running a “kind of wannabe American star chamber pulp fiction gig,” in comments to Waatea News. 

Supporters argue that despite criticism, the Tribunal’s role, in addressing historical grievances and informing the public on Treaty issues, is crucial. 

Yet, RNZ journalist Ella Stewart admits “It all adds up to a stormy outlook for the Tribunal and its work.”

Read more over at RNZ

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