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Maori Treaty Rights Spread Across The Seas

Maori Treaty Rights Spread Across The Seas

New Zealand First has accused the Government of spreading Maori Treaty settlement rights to fish caught by New Zealand companies outside this country’s exclusive economic zone as a result of new fisheries legislation (Fisheries Amendment Bill No 3).

Rt Hon Winston Peters said Maori were granted 20 percent of all fish species passing into the Quota Management System (QMS) as a Treaty settlement and this was embraced by the 1996 Fisheries Act.

At the time the QMS applied to fish species in New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone, but the new legislation applies the QMS to Highly Migratory Species (HMS) (chiefly tuna) outside New Zealand’s zone on the high seas and in other sovereign waters.

“The result is that Maori are suddenly the beneficiaries of a quota system that is spreading across the world as New Zealand companies improve their fishing techniques and harvest the seas further afield.

“This is a form of Treaty nonsense that should be stopped immediately. It is ridiculous for the bureaucracy to claim that the new policy ensures that New Zealand meets its international obligations.

“There are simply no international fisheries obligations that require New Zealand to extend the QMS beyond our economic zone.

“It means that fishers who spend enormous sums and efforts locating and building a catch history in the sovereign waters of other states to get an entitlement have to give 20 percent to Maori without receiving any compensation.

“We oppose this inequitable, race-based policy and call on the Government to abandon it,” said Mr Peters.

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