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Fisheries issues a 'Waitangi Warning' for Govt

Fisheries issues a 'Waitangi Warning' for Government

Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party

Friday 1 February 2008

Fisheries Spokesperson for the Maori Party, Tariana Turia, has today described the outcomes of the annual hui of Te Ohu Kaimoana as an apt ‘Waitangi warning’ for the government.

“Waitangi Day always affords us opportunity to assess the progress made in respecting the contract agreed in Te Tiriti o Waitangi” said Mrs Turia.

“Back in 1845, Lord Stanley in instructing Governor George Grey said “I repudiate with the utmost possible earnestness the doctrine maintained by some, that the treaties which we have entered into with [the Maori] are to be considered a mere blind to amuse and deceive ignorant savages… will honourably and scrupulously fulfil the conditions of the Treaty of Waitangi”.

“Yet as I read the comments of Te Ohu Kaimoana chair, Archie Te Atawhai Taiaroa, that successive government proposals “each had the effect of undermining Maori fisheries while providing no real environmental or sustainability advances” it would appear the instruction to be honourable and scrupulous in fulfilling the Treaty has been recklessly ignored by Government in relation to Maori Commercial Fisheries Settlements” said Mrs Turia.

“Tangata whenua are not ‘amused and deceived’ by the proposals on shared fisheries, the quicksilver changes introduced to the Fisheries Act, or the dolphin threat managements plans, which could all potentially weaken the value of the fisheries settlements allocated to mandated iwi organisations” said Mrs Turia.

“While the Minister of Fisheries continues to build up his burgeoning bureaucracy, iwi Maori are struggling to protect the value of the Maori fisheries assets for the benefit of their iwi and Maori shareholders and at the same time ensure sustainability of the fisheries resource” said Mrs Turia.

“Maori fishers know only too well, their responsibility to invest in sustainable fisheries management for the benefit of future generations and the long life of the marine environment” said Mrs Turia. “But the key to achieving these important national priorities is in maintaining effective communication with the Minister and his Ministry”.

“Government seems to give on the one hand, and then just as quickly take away with the other….and as Mr Taiaroa has suggested, it is incumbent on Maori to ‘remain vigilant’ against the consistent erosion of the 1992 Deed of Settlement”.

“From today’s hui of Te Ohu Kaimoana it appears that it is the fragile state of the relationship that is of great concern - Lord Stanley would not be pleased”.

"I am certain this - along with all of the other contentious Government actions of the last year - will be hotly debated at Waitangi" said Mrs Turia. “Parekura will have some answering to do!”.


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