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'Government should help out Ngati Tama just like South Canterbury Finance'

Marae Investigates on TV ONE

The Government should help out Taranaki iwi, Ngati Tama who recently lost $20million of the iwi's Treaty settlement money, just like it bailed out South Canterbury Finance; Maori commentator Willie Jackson said in an interview on Marae Investigates.

Mr Jackson was speaking along with Haumoana White from Taranaki, on the recent announcement by the iwi of its failed investment. Iwi were informed at a hui at Pukearuhe Marae on April 14 that of $19.8m invested, they might be able to recoup $1.5million. Greg White, Chief Executive of Ngati Tama Development Trust and nephew of Haumoana has accepted responsibility for the loss and resigned soon after the failed investment was revealed.  Ngati Tama received their Treaty settlement of $14.5m in 2003.

He also said the Government should think about giving the iwi another $14.5m suggesting the original settlement should not have gone through because it was a "pitiful settlement" which the iwi had "jumped at" and in the process "undermined most of Taranaki".

"We are talking about a settlement process that recognises less than one percent of the actual loss of people, we are talking pathetic settlements Miriama."

Mr Jackson said the Government wouldn't want to give anything but "if they can give money to South Canterbury Finance overnight which are mainly Pakeha investors they should give some thought to this but they won't because there are a different set of rules for Maori. I know what happened was wrong and it was terrible and I know they won't give any money but if they got into a different mindset here and realised that the whole settlement process is tremendously unfair for the people in the haukainga isn't it."

When asked whether or not Ngati Tama could rebuild, Mr Jackson said it would be difficult. "But its funny what you can grow and I think they have got the right team in with Richard there. They have only got one and a half million but he'll know how to invest it."

"[There's] good people in there who have got good business background a lot of expertise. I have hope that they can build it but I think they need to bring in the wider Ngati Tama."