Labour is calling for an immediate review of the trustee appointment process at the Crown Forestry Rental Trust, says Labour’s Maori Development spokesperson Kelvin Davis.
“The recently released Court of Appeal judgement shows CFRT has reimbursed more than $2 million of legal costs to both the New Zealand Maori Council and the Federation of Maori Authorities who are embroiled in a legal battle that’s festered for more than five years.
“The Minister of Maori Development needs to review this situation as questions must be asked about the trustee appointment process and the ongoing costs which could be more than $5 million.
“CFRT funds are supposed to support claims processes rather than legal costs so a review must happen as soon as possible.
“The Minister of Maori Development should be concerned as the judgement describes the legal fight as a divisive and expensive dispute between representatives of the New Zealand Maori Council and the Federation of Maori Authorities - the two bodies jointly responsible for appointing the six Maori trustees under the CFRT.
“Even though CFRT have reimbursed the $2 million as the judgement states, the use of trust funds to pay legal costs of this magnitude is unacceptable,” says Kelvin Davis.