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Labour Uses Fisheries Bait To Hook Maori Voters

Labour Uses Fisheries Bait To Hook Maori Voters

Friday 18 Jun 2004

Ken Shirley - Press Releases - Environment & Conservation

Labour's plan to allocate 20 percent of aquaculture management area permits to Maori is a blatant example of this Government's race-based preference, ACT New Zealand's Fisheries and Other Sea-related Legislation Select Committee member Ken Shirley said today.

"This move is not underpinned by any legitimate Treaty property right, and is all about Labour trying to appease alienated Maori voters and setting the stage for race-based policy under the Foreshore and Seabed legislation," Mr Shirley said.

"The 1992 Sealords deal expunged all Maori claims to commercial fishing based on customary titles and rights, as previously provided in Section 88(2) of the Fisheries Act. The principle Fisheries Act of 1983 provided a definition for subsequent fisheries legislation, including the 1992 Treaty Fisheries settlement.

"This Act defines fishing as the

`means of catching, taking or harvesting of fish, aquatic life or seaweed and includes any other activity which may reasonably be expected to result in the catching, taking or harvesting of fish, aquatic life or seaweed and also includes operations in support or preparation for any activities described in this definition'.

"This definition clearly includes all forms of aquaculture.

"The 1992 Sealords deal was a $1 billion settlement, in today's value. As a consequence of the settlement, Maori interests today own and control more than 50 percent of all fishing quota, and 40 percent of aquaculture investments.

"There is no justification for a race-based preference for Maori in aquaculture management areas. They should stand in the market like any other individual or group to acquire permits.

"Labour is engaged in a dangerous trend of re-visiting the 1992 settlement of commercial fisheries - thereby undermining what was intended to be a full and final Treaty settlement," Mr Shirley said.


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