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New Maori Fishing Quota Will Gut Race Relations

Friday 18 Jun 2004

Gerry Eckhoff - Press Releases - Other

ACT New Zealand Fisheries Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff today repeated his prediction that a Labour Government proposal to give Maori catch rights to fish caught in international waters could harm race relations in New Zealand.

"Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope must explain to New Zealanders the justification for giving Maori a 20 percent share of fish caught outside this country's territorial waters," Mr Eckhoff said.

"Maori have no ancestral, historical or traditional connection with these waters. The allocation of this quota will only serve to perpetuate the perception among many pakeha that Maori are being granted special privileges.

"It is nonsense for the Minister to require that New Zealand-registered boats, fishing in international waters, hand over a share of their catch entitlement to Maori, especially when Maori have had every opportunity to participate in the fishing industry.

"After years of development and hard work have gone into the fishing industry - by Maori and pakeha alike, the Minister now wants to give some select Maori more than their fair share. Meanwhile, the majority of Maori are unlikely to see any tangible benefits of this allocation.

"Prime Minister Helen Clark must pull her Minister into line, and knock this proposal on its head. It is racist and divisive. The Government must send a clear message to the public that enough is enough. If not, the public will have every right to ask when it will ever end," Mr Eckhoff said.


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