That was no settlement, says Williamson

The $15 million in extra funding for Maori language and culture announced yesterday is not in any way linked to the 2GHz spectrum auction, according to Communications minister Maurice Williamson.

The $15 million in extra funding for Maori language and culture announced yesterday is not in any way linked to the 2GHz spectrum auction, according to Communications minister Maurice Williamson.

Yesterday's announcement was widely taken as a resolution of Treaty claims on radio spectrum, but, according to a statement issued late in the day by Williamson, the money is "committed solely to meet our obligations to protect the Maori language and is completely separate from the spectrum issue."

@IDG understands Maori Affairs minister and Mauri Pacific leader Tau Henare has been discussing the spectrum issue with senior Cabinet ministers for weeks, and that offers have been made.

The problem for Henare may be in assessing the value of any spectrum offered in advance of the auction. Meanwhile, a number of potential wireless projects are on hold until the government makes a decision.

Williamson said he and Henare had "worked hard on meeting the requirements of successive court rulings and Tribunal recommendations on the government's obligations in relation to Maori language and culture. Mr Henare's announcement reflects the government's concern and commitment on this issue. It's a culmination of many months of work.

"Cabinet has not yet taken a decision on the Waitangi Tribunal recommendation in relation to the spectrum. The Government will consider this issue in the near future at which time I will announce the decision."

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