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Historic fisheries settlement an enduring solution

16 September, 2004

Historic fisheries settlement an enduring solution for Maori

The passing of the Maori Fisheries Bill today is an historic moment and represents an enduring solution, says Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope.

The Maori Fisheries Bill transfers control to iwi of roughly $750million in assets as a full and final settlement of Maori claims to commercial fishing, in accordance with the 1992 Fisheries Settlement.

Approximately half of those assets are being allocated directly to iwi and half are being managed centrally with the creation of the country's largest fishing group, Aotearoa Fisheries Limited, which will have an interest in about a third of New Zealand's $1.2 billion commercial fishing industry. Iwi as shareholders will receive dividends from that company's profits.

"The Maori Fisheries Bill delivers to Maori the means to long-term financial confidence," said Mr Benson-Pope. "It paves the way for economic growth that will benefit all New Zealanders. The allocation of quota, cash and income shares will empower iwi to develop their own assets."

Mr Benson-Pope says the 12 years it has taken to get agreement on the organisational structure, necessary controls, and model for sharing assets shows what a mammoth undertaking the Maori Fisheries Bill was. The resulting model balances a number of factors including the size of iwi population with the length of coastline associated with that iwi.

"As Government we have been providing leadership to ensure that process moved as quickly and efficiently as possible," Mr Benson-Pope said. "I am pleased to see that leadership has resulted in this remarkable settlement which puts historical grievances behind us and paves the way for growth and opportunity."

ENDS

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