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Maori fisheries law only transitional

Phil Heatley National Party Fisheries Spokesman

16 September 2004

Maori fisheries law only transitional

National's Fisheries spokesman, Phil Heatley, warns that the Government's new fisheries legislation is, in effect, only a transitional law.

Today, Parliament will pass the Maori Fisheries Bill which creates the Aotearoa Fisheries Limited company to manage 50% of the $750 million fisheries assets given to Maori in the 1992 Sealord deal.

Mr Heatley says National supports Maori going forward with the new fisheries law, but is concerned it is merely transitional.

"It ignores problems that will see Maori frustrated and back in the courts, instead of out fishing.

"The Government's legislation denies iwi full control over their own assets.

"Over time, iwi will demand more say in the directorship of AFL and direct control over their own assets and deep sea quota. The only way to get these changes will be to head back to Parliament."

"The Government's approach of promoting overbearing control of Maori assets will hamstring iwi.

"National supports this legislation as a start, but acknowledges that a future National Government will undoubtedly be asked by Maori to help untangle these outstanding issues," Mr Heatley says.

ENDS

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