The iwi chairs forum has been slammed as an unelected and unaccountable group which has no mandate to make major decisions on behalf of Maoridom.
Auckland, lawyer Annette Sykes from Ngati Pikiao says the forum and its associated iwi leaders groups are exerting growing influence on Maori policy.
She says hapu round the country are becoming increasingly concerned at the activities of the self-selected group, which includes Ngai Tahu’s Mark Solomon, Tukoroirangi Morgan of Tainui and Sonny Tau of Ngapuhi.
“There are these six iwi chairs who have been nominated to meet quarterly and have regular interface with the Crown. Now I don’t know any process which showed those six iwi chairs should be that which takes that interface. There was certainly no Hirangi hui, there was no Turangawaewae hui, and certainly at Waitangi or Pukawa where I’ve been at, there has not been a mandate of this kind,” Ms Sykes says.
She says while some of the convenors asked by the iwi leaders to take the lead on issues are highly skills, others have no discernible expertise in what they are being asked to comment on.