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Major step forward for Maori fisheries settlement

Major step forward for Maori fisheries settlement

The release to litigants yesterday of the full particulars of Te Ohu Kai Moana's proposed quota allocation model is an important and welcome step forward, says Fisheries Minister Pete Hodgson.

Mr Hodgson said he hoped the release would not be followed by renewed litigation aimed at preventing Te Ohu Kai Moana (TOKM) formally presenting its report on allocation to him.

"It would be extremely disappointing if the wishes of the vast majority of iwi and Maori for a conclusion to the allocation process were frustrated any further," Mr Hodsgon said.

"The successful allocation of Maori fisheries assets is a priority for the Government. The debate has been going on for more than ten years and has been through all the Courts, including the Privy Council. It is time for the beneficiaries of the 1992 Fisheries Settlement to receive the assets so they can be used to build a stronger economic and social base for Maori.

"Te Ohu Kai Moana now has a proposal with an unprecedented level of support. Over 90 percent of iwi have made it very clear that they wish the allocation process to move forward."

The Government supported Te Ohu Kai Moana in Court last year in a successful bid to remove injunctions preventing TOKM reporting its allocation proposal to the Government for review.

"The Government will continue to oppose further applications to the Court to prevent or delay Te Ohu Kai Moana reporting its proposal," Mr Hodgson said.

"Once I have formally received that report on behalf of the Government it will be reviewed, as required by the Maori Fisheries Act 1989. If the allocation model is approved it is the firm intention of the Government to submit a Bill to Parliament to give it legislative effect."

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