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Labour's Maori Quota Smells Fishy

Labour's Maori Quota Smells Fishy

Wednesday 12 May 2004

ACT New Zealand Fisheries Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff today revealed that Maori are about to be given a quota allocation for fish caught north of the equator - whether Maori want it or not.

"During Question Time today, I revealed that Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope is proposing to use the Fisheries Amendment Bill to give 20 percent of fish caught in international waters to Maori - despite Maori not having requested this," Mr Eckhoff said.

"Maori have no ancestral, historical or traditional connection with, for example, the South China Sea. Yet they are about to receive a sizable chunk of all fish caught thousands of kilometres from New Zealand waters.

"It is nonsense for the Minister to require New Zealand registered boats, fishing in international waters, to hand over 20 percent of their catch entitlement to Maori - who could well end up being unfairly blamed for this unjust initiative.

"If Mr Benson-Pope continues in this vein, it is reasonable to assume that all land-based aquaculture enterprises will also be forced to hand over a percentage of their production to Maori.

"Prime Minister Helen Clark has certainly hooked a minnow in this Minister," Mr Eckhoff said.

ENDS

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