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Bungled fisheries plan pits Maori against Maori

Phil Heatley MP
National Party Fisheries Spokesman

04 April 2006

Bungled fisheries plan pits Maori against Maori

National Party Fisheries spokesman Phil Heatley says the looming row between Maori and Maori-owned Sealord is further evidence of the need for an inquiry into Labour’s flawed aquaculture reforms.

"Now an interim Environment Court ruling has thrown more confusion on the issue and angered iwi at the top of the South Island.”

SMW Consortium Ltd is partly-owned by Sealord and its application for marine farming space is now being challenged by local iwi.

“This plan is pitting Maori against Maori,” says Mr Heatley.

Under aquaculture reforms introduced by legislation in 2004, taxpayers are required to make a cash payment to Maori if the Fisheries Ministry cannot find water space equivalent to around 240 marine farms to gift to Maori by 2014.

Mr Heatley says the compensation payment could be in excess of $250 million.

“The Government of the day will have to front up with a big cheque unless 20% of existing aquaculture space, and 20% of new space, is found for Maori.

“Not one single Aquaculture Management Area (AMA) has been set up anywhere along New Zealand’s coastline since the bureaucratic reforms were passed in Parliament.

“Dover Samuels has voiced his concerns about the nature of this legislation but changed his tune to vote down my efforts to gain a Primary Production Select Committee inquiry.

“I agree with him that this legislation is unworkable and I’d ask Mr Samuels if he might reconsider his position - yet again,” says Mr Heatley.


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