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Allocation Delay Costs Maori Millions A Year

Media Statement: Treaty Tribes Coalition

30 March 2000

For Immediate Use

ALLOCATION DELAY COSTS MAORI MILLIONS A YEAR

"Delays in allocating fisheries settlement assets to iwi cost Maori many millions of dollars a year in lost commercial opportunities," Harry Mikaere, Chairman of the Treaty Tribes Coalition, said today.

"In addition, the delays cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a month that could be allocated to education, health and economic development programmes to close the gaps between Maori and non-Maori.

"Government action on this issue is the best way to close those gaps, develop regional economies and finally restore an Article Two Treaty right that can never be given up."

Mr Mikaere was commenting on the Tainui Maori Trust Board's decision to withdraw support for the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission's Optimum Allocation Model (OAM).

While disappointed Waikato-Tainui had changed its position and now disagrees with some aspects of the OAM, Mr Mikaere was pleased the iwi continues to support the principle that fisheries assets should be allocated to iwi.

"There is only one proposed model to allocate the assets to iwi," Mr Mikaere said. "That is the OAM. It was developed by the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission and, through a two year consultation process, achieved the support of 76 percent of all iwi, representing 63 percent of all Maori."

Mr Mikaere said iwi have the processes and mechanisms to deliver to their members, including the minority of members in rural areas and the majority in urban areas.

The Treaty Tribes Coalition would continue to stand with the great majority of iwi in promoting the earliest possible implementation of the OAM, he said.

"This issue is now eight years old. Rather than turning back the clock again, as Waikato-Tainui appears to be suggesting, the Treaty Tribes Coalition will be seeking the earliest possible allocation of assets which our people so desperately need and have a right to."

Mr Mikaere said Waikato-Tainui's interest in the 50 percent share of Sealord Products Ltd, currently held by Brierley Investments Ltd, was its own business. But he said Maori would have been in a better position to purchase the shareholding had the allocation of fishing quota held by the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission not previously been thwarted by the legal challenges of a few individuals.

END

For further information please contact: Harry Mikaere 021 972 669


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