Former Treaty of Waitangi claims negotiator Ngatata Love will be released on parole in October, having served less than half of his jail term for taking a secret payment of $1.5 million while chairman of the Wellington Tenths Trust.
Love was sentenced to two years and six months imprisonment last October for the fraud. The guilty verdict followed an investigation into a $1.5m payment from a land developer into a trust controlled by Love's partner, Lorraine Skiffington, which was then used to repay a property loan on a Plimmerton house he and Skiffington co-owned.
The Court of Appeal rejected his bid to have the sentence quashed in June, with Love's lawyers arguing there had been a miscarriage of justice in declaring him fit to stand trial because of his dementia and the subsequent sentence was unduly harsh.
The appeal court judges found the two-and-a-half year jail term was "well within range, if not merciful, and could not possibly be criticised as excessive".
After a parole board hearing yesterday, Love will be "released in early October with a number of parole conditions", a spokesperson for the Department of Corrections said in an emailed statement.
Skiffington, who was granted a permanent stay as she was declared medically unfit to stand trial, recently had her assets frozen as the Tenths Trust pursues reparations.
The trust was established to administer 81 hectares of Maori Reserve lands, largely in urban Wellington, on behalf of its beneficial owners, the descendants of hapu of Te Atiawa, Ngati Tama, Taranaki, and Ngati Ruanui tupuna who were living within the rohe in 1839. It held assets of $55.6m as at March 31, 2014. There are currently 6,133 registered beneficial owners.