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Lee calls for inquiry into Fisheries Comission

Sandra Lee calls for a full inquiry into Fisheries Commission

Sandra Lee
MP'None of the present Fisheries Commissioners should be re-appointed, and there must be a full and independent commission of inquiry into the financial activities and management practises of these Commissioners,' said leader of Mana Motuhake and deputy leader of the Alliance Sandra Lee today.

She was speaking at the Mana Motuhake hui a tau (annual conference) in Tauranga where she was launching the Mana Motuhake/Alliance Treaty of Waitangi policy.

The policy calls for major legislative change to empower Te Puni Kokori to 'police' the Vote Maori budget so that it can be guaranteed that services aimed at Maori actually reach Maori.

‘If part of the next government we will also move to introduce democratic elections for the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission. It is totally inappropriate that the Crown 'appoint' a board that is meant to represent Maori.

‘It is a myth for Tau or In fact it is the delay in fair allocation that has generated all the litigation.

‘In the six years to 30th September 1998, these Commissioners have paid themselves it appears a total of $6.149 million by way of annual fees, other remunerations and directors fees. That is over a million dollars a year.

‘It could be more. No-one knows, because despite my best efforts as an MP using parliamentary questions, I am prevented from knowing any detailed information on the payments they make to themselves.

‘The Commission, unlike other public agencies is not subject to the provisions of the Official Information Act.

‘In the same six years the Commissioners have managed to reduce a surplus before tax of $38.389 million in 1993 to a deficit of $5.508 million last year.

‘There is published comment from financial journalists that the Commission has exposed the resources (which are being held on behalf of all Maori), to the risk of considerable foreign exchange losses.

'We need not only to introduce transparency and democracy into this process: we also need to discover exactly what the Commission has been doing, and what they have been paying themselves.

‘All Maori and the wider community need to know, what has been going on inside this Commission?' said Sandra Lee.

ENDS


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