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Beehive Bulletin 1 December 2006

Beehive Bulletin 1 December 2006


Crown apology

The Prime Minister delivered a formal apology to Te Arawa at Te Papaiouru Marae in Rotorua, for Treaty of Waitangi breaches relating to 14 lakes in the area. Helen Clark presented Te Arawa with a photograph of each of the 14 lakes, and a Maori translation of the Deed of Settlement. Te Arawa's Treaty claims over the lakes were settled when legislation, passed in September, allowed for the transfer of the beds of 13 lakes to Te Arawa, and payment of $10 million. The money included $2.7m for the settlement of historical claims and $7.3m to buy out the annuity paid to the Te Arawa Mäori Trust Board pursuant to a 1922 Crown-Te Arawa agreement concerning the ownership of the lakes.

The settlement also included an apology from the Crown for breaches of the Treaty in respect of the lakes and for the negative impact on Te Arawa's rangatiratanga over the lakes. Helen Clark said the Crown was pleased to be able to right past wrongs. Treaty Negotiations Minister Mark Burton said the Prime Minister's personal delivery of the Crown's apology is an important part of rebuilding a relationship with Te Arawa.

Trade of apples . . .

Trade Minister Phil Goff and Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton expressed continued disappointment at the strict access conditions imposed on New Zealand apples into Australia. This week's release of the Biosecurity Australia's Final Import Risk Analysis (IRA) of our apples, allowed imports with extensive conditions, to all states except Western Australia. Previously, a total ban imposed on the grounds that apples might transmit the plant disease fire blight was later withdrawn. New Zealand officials will assess the 600-page report and conditions carefully, the ministers said. The government is keeping its options open including taking the case to the WTO.

. . . and butter

In other trade news, Phil Goff announced New Zealand's agreement with the European Commission on the long-term arrangements for our butter exports to Europe. With the current short term arrangements for importing New Zealand butter to the EU due to expire on 31 December 2006, New Zealand officials working out the details of a longer term solution with the Commission. A new regime for New Zealand butter exports to Europe will be implemented from 1 January 2007. Under the package, the tariff for New Zealand butter imported under the quota will be reduced to ?700 per tonne from the current rate of ?868.8 per tonne, a reduction of 19.43 per cent. There will also be a change in the butterfat standard from 80/82 per cent to 80/85 per cent, with a 3.5 per cent reduction in the quota to take account of the higher fat levels.

Protecting Great White Sharks

White pointer sharks will be given greater protection under changes announced by Conservation Minister Chris Carter and Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton. From April 2007, it will be illegal under the Wildlife Act to hunt, kill or harm white pointer sharks, also known as great white sharks, within New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ - 200 nautical mile around New Zealand). Possession of, or trading in, any part of a great white, will also be outlawed. Chris Carter said despite the white pointer's reputation as an apex predator, it was vulnerable to fishing and without protection, could be pushed to the brink of extinction.

The Wildlife Act provides for a $250,000 fine and up to six months imprisonment for illegal hunting or trading. Further out at sea, New Zealand-flagged boats will be banned under the Fisheries Act from taking white pointer sharks while fishing outside the EEZ. However, provisions will allow the continued use of shark nets to protect swimmers around Dunedin beaches, and accidental catching and killing will not be prosecuted provided fishers register the death with authorities.

Tenancies law reform

Building Issues Minister Clayton Cosgrove unveiled a package of reforms to encourage a fairer rental market, and to revamp outdated law covering apartments and other multi-unit properties. Proposed Residential Tenancies Act changes include, limiting tenants' liability for damage they did not cause, extending the coverage of the Act and access to tenancy dispute resolution to those not currently protected such as people in retirement villages, boarding houses, and supported living.

With a 50 year projection of half a million people living in apartments, townhouses and high-rise buildings in Auckland alone, the new Unit Titles Act will help clarify rights and obligations, assist effective conflict resolution, provide better information, and better management. Legislation is due to be introduced in 2007.

Joint Pacific airwaves

A decision to merge Pacific community radio stations Radio 531pi and NiuFM has been welcomed by the government as one that will strengthen broadcasting for Pacific communities within New Zealand. Broadcasting Minister Steve Maharey and Pacific Island Affairs Minister Phil Goff say the two stations will be able to pool resources, avoid programme duplication and enhance services they both provide to Pacific audiences.

The stations will combine under the National Pacific Radio Trust umbrella, the government-appointed charitable trust responsible for NiuFM since its establishment as a government initiative to improve Pacific broadcasting, in 2002. The network now reaches 85 per cent of the Pacific population nationwide. Radio 531pi, broadcasting to Aucklanders, was established in 1993 and is owned by the Auckland Pacific Island Community Radio Trust.

ENDS

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