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Te Ohu Kai Moana, Crown Join To Remove Injunction

25 June 2002


The Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission (Te Ohu Kai Moana) and the Government today filed a joint application asking the High Court to remove a three-year-old injunction preventing Te Ohu Kai Moana from reporting allocation proposals to the Government.

Te Ohu Kai Moana is required by the Maori Fisheries Act 1989 to report a method of allocation to the Minister of Fisheries. However, it is currently prevented from doing so because the 1999 injunction is still in force.

The order was granted in the High Court on 31 March 1999 by Anderson J.

Te Ohu Kai Moana chairman Shane Jones said today: “Commissioners have reached consensus on all major issues over allocation. We want to put these proposals to Iwi and other parties, but want to make sure that resolution can be achieved. With the restraining order in place, we can’t achieve resolution.”

It is necessary for Te Ohu Kai Moana to have the injunction removed before circulating for agreement new allocation proposals for approximately $700 million worth of Maori fisheries assets, he said.

“We want to ensure that people’s deliberations over allocation will have meaning and contribute towards achieving an outcome and resolution. That certainly would not be the case with the injunction in place because Te Ohu Kai Moana would not be able to take that agreement any further,” Mr Jones said.

Mr Jones said the three-year-old restraining order was related to proposals that no longer existed and was therefore “irrelevant”.

“The restraining order was aimed squarely at previous allocation proposals put forward in 1999. Since then, we have looked again at allocation, consulted fully over new proposals that deal with the entire settlement, not just one half of it, sought submissions and are currently finalising a new allocation method.”

“That injunction is no longer relevant to our new proposals,” he said.

Mr Jones said it was pleasing the Government had supported the action. There is also substantial support from Iwi and groupings of Iwi, as well as some parties who had supported previous litigation.

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Mr Jones also said that once Te Ohu Kai Moana had released for agreement new allocation proposals – now likely to occur in July – Iwi and interested parties would have seven weeks to consider them.

“Naturally, the High Court action will change the timing and therefore we haven’t set a firm date for release of our document on its completion,” he said.

“What’s clear, however, is that given the comprehensiveness of the proposals we are to put forward means an extended period for Iwi to consider them would be appropriate to ensure a robust outcome.”

“We are keen to ensure the document for agreement is full and comprehensive for people to make a decision. We believe the added time for Iwi to consider the proposals and reach agreement will be better in the longer term. While Commissioners have reached consensus over the major issues, we certainly don’t want to rush the final phase of this process,” Mr Jones said.


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