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Government Slaps Iwi in the Face, Again

17 June 2005

Government Slaps Iwi in the Face, Again

"Conservation Minister Chris Carter's surprise announcement to create a marine reserve off Great Barrier Island in the Hauraki Gulf demonstrates this Government's standard response is quickly becoming to ignore its obligations to tangata whenua" stated Tariana Turia, co-leader Maori Party.

"Kaikoura Island and the Ngati Wai Islands have been taken by the Department of Conservation with scant regard for the interests of the mana whenua" said Mrs Turia today.

Ngati Wai and Ngati Rehua exercise mana whenua over the north-east coastal area. Ngati Maru also has an interest in the north-east coast and marine area.

"I am extremely disappointed to learn that Ngati Wai Trust Board had met with the Minister back in December last year, and offered an alternative strategy which would provide a partnership approach for marine protection" stated Mrs Turia.

"I am told that Ngati Wai were very committed to working with the Government in the interests of responsible marine protection. They were keen to work together to achieve the Government's targets of 10% marine protection, as set out under the biodiversity strategy".

"Ngati Wai had suggested a co-management approach. Instead what had happened is that full management and administration of Kaikoura Island was transferred through to another agency without even discussing it with the iwi".

"The rug was literally pulled from under their feet. I am not at all surprised that they have launched High Court action in response to the decisions about offshore islands and marine reserves".

"When will this Government learn, that respectful partnership requires a willingness to engage in constructive dialogue with the Treaty partner - not ignoring them at their peril?".

ENDS


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