BNZ launches $50 million fund to aid Treaty of Waitangi settlements
BNZ has announced a $50 million fund to help bridge the shortfalls for iwi and hapu through their Treaty of Waitangi settlements.
BNZ expects its funding, along with advice from its Māori business team, to help unlock an estimated $1.5 billion worth of existing Treaty claims.
Approximately half of iwi have received a Treaty of Waitangi settlement but, for the remaining 60-plus claimants, there is a need for funding assistance and good financial advice to help get them through the settlement process, says Pierre Tohe, head of Maori business at BNZ.
“With the time between mandate and final settlement, which can take between three and seven years, many iwi can’t afford the continued costs of the process, meaning many settlements are delayed or deferred,” he says in a statement.
Mr Tohe says that if iwi are successful in contributing to the economy as well as increasing the health, well-being and education of their people the whole country stands to gain.
“Māori are a growing economic force with an estimated $37 billion in assets, a growing population and the appetite to invest in long-term sustainable growth projects in New Zealand,” Mr Tohe says.
The recently announced fund is part of a wider move for BNZ, which is increasing efforts to help iwi with their finances.
Last year the bank released a white paper targeting Māori organisations, which highlights best practices for portfolio management. These organisations often experience competing objectives of providing intergenerational fairness via distribution of benefits, while achieving stable income to fund strong wealth creation, according to a BNZ statement.
The bank has also launched a Māori cadetship programme beginning next year, where 10 Māori cadets will gain work experience at the bank.