Treaty claim stalls radio spectrum auction

The Ministry of Commerce's auction of 2GHz radio frequencies has been deferred for three months while the Crown considers a report from the Waitangi Tribunal on a Treaty of Waitangi claim. The auction was due to begin on March 29, but the Tribunal issued an interim report on March 26 recommending that the Crown suspend it and begin negotiations with Maor1.

The Ministry of Commerce's auction of 2GHz radio frequencies has been deferred for three months while the Crown considers a report from the Waitangi Tribunal on a Treaty of Waitangi claim.

The auction was due to begin on March 29, but the Tribunal issued an interim report on March 26 recommending that the Crown suspend it and begin negotiations with Maori, with a view to reserving a share of the rights to be auctioned.

The claim, received by the Waitangi Tribunal on March 9, says that the auction would be in breach of the principles of the Treaty because Maori have a right to a fair and equitable share in the radio spectrum resource.

Communications Minister Maurice Williamson has said the Crown will not negotiate on the matter, but will seek an urgent substantive hearing before the Tribunal.

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