The "Treelords" deal signed yesterday, and introduced into parliament in a bill, is a great step forward from the grid-lock over the central North Island forests that has existed since the Crown made a commitment to un-steal it. Handing it back has been fraught and negotiations have been long. Meantime the Crown Forestry Rental Trust has racked up millions and been used to fund studies into claims - which was a good use of the money despite the allegations of over-spending.
Cullen seems keen to make progress. As Finance Minister it would be sensible and prudent to remove the huge liabilities the CNI forest claim represents on the Crown balance sheet. How much of this has to do with saving Nania Mahuta's arse from electoral oblivion I do not know.
I hope the settlement is satisfactory to all involved.