Kai Moana Conference - Horomia Speech
Hon Parekura Horomia Speech Notes
Speech to Te Ohu Kai Moana Conference, 'Bringing the Horizon Closer', Invercargill,
Traditionally Maori are a maritime people. Our tupuna knew where all the best kaimoana spots were, when and how to harvest it. Our tupuna knew how to read the water, which was essential not only for kai but also for sailing. Some iwi are renown for their knowledge around kaimoana. Our tipuna were also trading internationally - in flax, in kumara and in fish to name some of the commodities. So the utilisation and management of the resources of the sea is nothing new to Maori culture and our economy.
More recently, Maori participation in the modern fishing and seafood industry has reached a level, where iwi are estimated to hold between 55 - 60% of the assets of the total industry. With this comes a significant ability to influence the industry to the benefit of Mäori and the New Zealand economy.
Good leadership is vital and we all have a role to play.
As Minister of Maori Affairs and associate Minister of Fisheries, I intend to address the hard issues, bring the key groups together, and argue for more resources with my Cabinet colleagues. As associate minister of education, employment and fisheries I can use my influence to encourage training initiatives to upskill workers in all sectors of the industry, from a factory worker to the board of directors. We need to be in all of those places.
I can also push for programmes to support new and existing businesses in the seafood industry. I can assist with encouraging networking at a local level, a national level and beyond the horizon.
But you too must take a leading role. We are kaitiaki (guardians) of our environment. That does not only mean the physical environment, but it also about managing the social and cultural environments. We need to stop focussing on grievances, or trying to get the biggest piece of the assets pie. We need to always remember the ultimate goal - to create a positive future for our people.
Allocation needs to occur. I am pushing for it. But while we wait, there is time to prepare for when the assets are allocated. A few organisations are ready to go but many are not. This is the time to build capacity. We have an economic base, but we need to able to maximise it for the benefit of Maori. That means we have to have sound and well-managed organisations, governance structures, trained staff and strategic plans to take us into the future.
I think that the Seafood industry can benefit from government initiatives like Capacity Building, the Maori Business Facilitation Service and regional development. I'll talk about these later.
Te Ohu Kaimoana’s 2000/2001 strategic plan signals that allocation is a key issue for the new Commission. The Commission has established an ambitious work programme to address the allocation issue. In February a process started to allow the parties to sit down together and talk through the issues and concerns. To wananga the issues is more desirable than battling it out in court. It is still early in the process but I am heartened by the fact that everybody has agreed to participate. The discussions to date have been very positive, with all parties keen to resolve the current impasse.
The new Commission has faced a number of major issues early in their term. The main one was the purchase of Brierley Investments Limited’s 50% share in Sealord Group Limited. This purchase and the new joint venture with the international fishing company Nippon Suisan Kaisha (Nissui), Te Ohu Kaimoana has significantly improved its asset base and the allocation benefits that will be available to Maori. Furthermore, Maori have a secure position as the major participant in New Zealand’s commercial fishing industry. Te Ohu Kaimoana now holds around 40% of all New Zealand’s fishing quota which is the largest single quota holder in New Zealand’s fishing industry.
The joint venture with Nippon Suisan Kaisha, Limited (Nissui) is going to produce increased employment opportunities, investment and new and enhanced technologies for the industry. I think the outcome is particularly good because it has enabled fisheries quota to remain in the control of New Zealanders. I commend the Commission for its astute business skills that will lead to benefits for New Zealand.
Capacity Building and the Maori Business Facilitation Service are two initiatives which Maori wishing to enter or enhance their opportunities in the seafood industry should utilise.
This coalition Government, through Capacity Building, is providing opportunities for whanau/hapu/iwi and other Maori community groups to plan development in a whole heap of ways. This funding could be an opportunity to assist Maori to enter and participate in the seafood industry. Details on access to Capacity Building funding can be obtained from any Te Puni Kökiri office.
Maori Business Facilitation
Also, the Maori Business Facilitation Service is a service that started last year to help Maori into and to grow businesses. There has already been some stunning success stories as many Maori businesses, new and established, have used the mentoring services, assistance with business plans and other professional advice.
This government is looking at an integrated approach to regional development. Regional development was kicked off in the Tairawhiti Region last year and is a model for development that can assist Maori in the Fishing Industry. There is potential in looking at a region as a whole and then at the key needs for development, from the grass roots up. This model can benefit all sectors of a community. As a consequence of the Tairawhiti Regional Initiative, the Labour Alliance Government is working with industry on a New Zealand Wood processing strategy. There are possibilities for similar initiatives in the seafood industry.
Areas that I would like to see progressed;
Quota Management System
A matter of extreme significance is the issue of getting existing and new species into the Quota Management System in a more efficient manner. I am aware that there are significant opportunities lost to Maori the longer that species stay out of the QMS. The future cannot be planned with certainty until all commercial species are in the QMS.
I want to hear your constructive ideas on how to speed up this process and I, as Associate Minister of Fisheries will push for solutions.
The coalition government is committed to the development of an Oceans Policy – an overarching framework for managing our oceans and all that occurs in and on it.
The Oceans Policy is important to you as users of the oceans. You will be aware that the Government has appointed a Ministerial Advisory Committee to consult with New Zealanders on their vision for the Ocean.
The Maori on the advisory committee are Riki Gage and Wally Stone. They are deeply aware of the importance of Tangaroa and Hinemoana and the impact of the oceans on Maori, at all levels - spiritual, cultural, economic and environmental. I urge you to take the chance to tell the Ministerial Advisory Committee what you think so that the Maori voice is heard and a workable strong framework is developed. The government has made it clear that the Treaty is an intrinsic and contextual feature of any oceans policy.
I see there are two critical issues for the seafood industry
1) Investment in Technology, Skills and Training. I would like to acknowledge the good work done by the Seafood Industry Training Organisation (SITO). They have developed an excellent platform to upskill workers in the industry, They actively incorporate things Maori. The challenge now is to get our rangatahi participating at the higher levels such business, science and technology.
2) We need to ensure that we add as much value as possible to our product in New Zealand so that we maximise the economic benefits. This, once again, relies on good education but also investment. This government has already signalled that it is keen to work with industry and with local government collaboratively to get better outcomes.
Before I finish, we need to remember that we are kaitiaki of taonga that have been handed down by our tipuna. We are responsible for looking after this taonga for our mokopuna, as they will have to do for their mokopuna.
I congratulate you all in being part of and helping to grow a dynamic, progressive and profitable seafood industry.