'Easily we call him our friend' - praise for Chris Finlayson from iwi leaders, political opponents

Outgoing Treaty Negotiations minister Chris Finlayson is leaving with the respect of iwi leaders and political opponents alike after signing off 59 Treaty settlements, a record during anyone's time in the portfolio.

After nine years in the role, Mr Finlayson is handing over his Treaty Negotiations portfolio to former Labour leader Andrew Little.

The new Minister for Maori Development, Nanaia Mahuta, said Mr Finlayson absolutely understood the complexities of New Zealand history.

"And how he applied that knowledge to his portfolio, and his way of managing a number of challenging issues, was exceptional." 

Tuhoe negotiator Tamati Kruger said Mr Finlayson "has an ability to connect emotionally as well as intellectually with what's going on and he has a very fair assessment of how things can proceed towards a settlement".  

"Easily we call him our friend."

For his part, Mr Finlayson, said the role has been an education for him.

"I call it the education of a public man because I've learned so much about my country, about it's history and about some of the challenges it faces," he said. 

"I consider that I've been the most fortunate person in the entire government because I've always got what I wanted." 

He faced criticism over how he dealt with cross claims, but the Tuhoe settlement and Parihaka apology remain highlights. 

The only large historical settlement left for Labour to complete is the Ngapuhi deal and the outgoing minister is watching with interest.

"On the one hand you've got Willow Jean Prime from Kotahitanga who's in Parliament now. And on the other side you've got Shane Jones whose very close to Tuhoronuku. So it'll be interesting to see them work through those issues," Mr Finlayson said.

His legacy though is moving Aotearoa New Zealand towards an honest future, set free from the past.

Mr Finlayson helped complete 59 settlements and his work is respected across the spectrum. Source: 1 NEWS



Man arrested after fatal stabbing in Upper Hutt

A man has been arrested following a man's death in Upper Hutt this afternoon after being stabbed.

Police have launched a homicide investigation.

Emergency services were called a scene on Golders Road in Upper Hutt shortly after 4:30pm and despite their best efforts to revive the victim, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police arrested a male nearby the scene of the assault and are currently speaking with him.

"There is not thought to be any risk to the public at this time, however the Police investigation into what happened continues," Detective Senior Sergeant Martin said.

Police car Source: 1 NEWS

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The Hastings' Four Square that sold four winning first division Lotto tickets

Hastings was the lucky home to four winning first division Lotto tickets last night.

Flaxmere's Scott Drive Four Square was the winning shop and TVNZ1's Seven Sharp meet with the owner.

"We have five first division winners in Flaxmere, and we have got four of them," owner Becky Gee said.

"Usually one shop gets one but one shop got four, unbelievable."

Last night there were 40 first division winners, who each get $25,000.

Ms Gee says she doesn’t know who the winners were yet, but says hopefully she’ll find out soon.

"Hopefully it’ll go to people who need it, to pay a lot of bills."

Lotto confirmed that one person purchased four of the winning tickets, which means they take home $100,000.

It turns out Scott Drive Four Square is where to buy a winning ticket. Source: Seven Sharp

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Watch: Three re-entry options for Pike River Mine explained in 3D graphic

Mining experts are gathered in Greymouth to look at the risks involved in the three re-entry options for the Pike River Mine, and 1 NEWS has explained the options using a 3D graphic.

The bodies of 29 men remain in the West Coast mine following an explosion on November 19  2010. Re-entry would allow experts to search for the bodies and gather evidence about the disaster.

The graphic shows the lie of the land above the mine and two distinct areas of the mine underground.

The mine drift, or access tunnel, starts from the entrance to the mine and runs 2.29 kilometres to what's known as the workings.

The workings are where the coal was being extracted and were the last locations of the 29 miners. The workings area contains a network of more than four kilometres of tunnels.

The first re-entry option is going in through the current entrance as it is now, with no secondary exit.

The second is the same but with a large bore hole made to provide a means of escape.

The other option is to create a new two-metre by two-metre tunnel about 200 metres long from up on a hill, to connect with another area for ventilation and a second exit.

Safety is the biggest priority and the findings will be reviewed over the next month.

After an explosion at the West Coast mine on 19 November 2010, the bodies of 29 men remain in the mine. Source: 1 NEWS


Taranaki man denies killing Waitara teenager in crash

A Taranaki man charged with dangerous driving causing death following an accident that killed a Waitara teenager last month has denied the offence.

The 37-year-old appeared in the New Plymouth District Court today where he also pleaded not guilty to charges of possession of cannabis, possession of utensils to consume methamphetamine, speeding and refusing to give a blood sample.

On 28 August, Olivia Renee Keightley-Trigg, 18, died after the man allegedly crashed into her on State Highway 3 between New Plymouth and Waitara.

The court heard that at about 6am the defendant was travelling towards New Plymouth when he crossed double yellow lines while overtaking another vehicle and drove into the path of Ms Keightley-Trigg.

Keightley-Trigg is one of 12 people to have been killed on the stretch of SH3 in the last 10 years.

The defendant was granted interim name suppression until 26 September, pending an appeal being filed over its potential lifting.

Defence counsel Paul Keegan argued that publication of the defendant's name could prejudice his right to a fair trial.

But Crown prosecutor Detective Sergeant Dave MacKenzie disagreed, telling the court that the defendant's right to a fair trial could be protected via other means.

Judge Garry Barkle said he was inclined to lift the name suppression in the interests of open justice but noted Mr Keegan had signalled his intention to appeal any such decision.

Judge Barkle therefore extended interim name suppression until 4pm on 26 September, pending an appeal.

The defendant, who has elected trial by jury, was remanded in custody to reappear on 22 November for a case review.

rnz.co.nz

Olivia Renee Keightley-Trigg.
Olivia Renee Keightley-Trigg. Source: NZ Police