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Get Ready For Allocation

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia again urged Maori to prepare for the allocation of the fisheries assets.

Speaking at the 150 delegates at the Maori Commercial Fisheries Conference in Invercargill this morning, Mr Horomia said allocation needs to occur, but in the meantime Maori groups need to get ready.

"Some organisations are ready for allocation but many are not. This is the time to build capacity - to establish sound and well-managed organisations and governance structures, to train staff and to develop strategic plans that will take their people into the future."

Te Ohu Kaimoana, the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission, is responsible for developing a model to allocate about $950 million worth of fisheries assets to Maori but progress has been delayed by ongoing legal action.

Mr Horomia, who is also the associate Minister of Fisheries, said he is pleased that litigants have been willing to sit down together and talk through their issues and concerns.

"To wananga (discuss) 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 and all parties are keen to resolve the impasse."

The Minister said Maori participation in the seafood industry is such that iwi hold about 55-60% of the assets of the total industry and that Maori can look to their past for ideas for the future.

"Utilisation and management of the resources of the sea is nothing new to Maori culture and our economy. Our ancestors owned sailing ships and traded commodities like flax, kumara and fish internationally. This is an exciting and developing industry and Maori are right at the cutting edge."

Ends

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