Sonny Tau's time as leader 'over' - Chris Finlayson

Chris Finlayson (L) and Sonny Tau (R) (file)
Chris Finlayson (L) and Sonny Tau (R) (file)

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson says disgraced Ngāpuhi leader Sonny Tau should step down from tribal leadership roles.

The call comes as the Crown accepts a new report by the two main groups leading Ngāpuhi's Treaty claim journey, marking a breakthrough in reaching settlement.

But the minister says Tau - who was recently convicted of killing five kereru - should stay away from the Treaty claim, saying his time is "over".

"Every person has their day in the sun and then they should move on," Mr Finlayson says.

"And I'm telling you that it's my considered view that Sonny Tau should move on for the sake of his tribe.

"I think it would be good for some of the young stars of Ngāpuhi, whom I've met over the years, to get stuck in and deal with this settlement, because they are the future of Ngāpuhi."

However, just last week Tau received the majority backing of the tribe's governance body, Te Runanga o Ngāpuhi, to remain in the chairman role.

The settlement took a step forward on Tuesday with the Government accepting a Waitangi Tribunal ruling that the process to choose who in Ngāpuhi would negotiate with the Crown was flawed.  

It's been suggested the August 2017 date is politically motivated so National can claim it signed off the country's largest ever Treaty settlement at the next election.