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$95,000 Being Ripped Out Of Hawke's Bay Monthly

Thursday 15 June 2000 For Immediate Use


“At least $95,000 is being ripped out of the Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa economy every month because a few individuals in Wellington are stopping Ngäti Kahungunu* from fully developing $32 million of fishing assets,” Harry Mikaere, Chairman of the Treaty Tribes Coalition, said today.

“We need the support of everyone in the Hawke’s Bay – Mäori and Pakeha – to get the Government to stop this destruction of Hawke’s Bay wealth.”

Mr Mikaere was in the Hawke’s Bay to meet with the seafood industry, business and community leaders and Mäori to discuss the economic costs of delaying the allocation of “pre-settlement” fisheries assets to iwi.

The focal points of the visit are a powhiri at Waipatu Marae and a presentation at the Hastings City Council, co-hosted by Mayor Jeremy Dwyer.

“Last month, a study by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) showed that $1 million of Mäori wealth is being destroyed every month because of delays in allocating the assets to iwi,” Mr Mikaere said.

“With Ngäti Kahungunu entitled to approximately 9 ½ percent of the assets, the delay is costing the local economy at least $95,000 every month.
“That $95,000 could be used every month to develop the local seafood industry and economy, or fund social programmes to close the gaps between Mäori and non- Mäori.

“The $95,000 would come to the Hawke’s Bay every month at no cost to ratepayers or taxpayers.”

Mr Mikaere said there was no good reason for the delays in allocation.

“In recognition of their rights under Article Two of the Treaty of Waitangi, iwi were granted the assets in 1989, but they have been held in trust by the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission ever since.

“Two years ago – after five years of careful consultation – 76 percent of iwi representing 63 percent of Mäori agreed on the commission’s Optimum Allocation Model to deliver them to iwi.

“Despite that, a handful of individuals are stopping allocation by technical legal challenges.

“While no New Zealand court has ever agreed with their legal challenges, there is no sign the few individuals intend to stop – and some are even off to the Privy Council in London next year.

“We expect their case to be thrown out by the Privy Council, but meanwhile the Hawke’s Bay economy will be losing $95,000 every month.”

Mr Mikaere said the Treaty Tribes Coalition was calling on the Government to fix the law to stop the never-ending legal challenges.

“Once the assets are allocated to Ngäti Kahungunu, it will be able to form long-term partnerships with the local fishing industry and with other iwi. That will enable them to invest in the development of the Hawke’s Bay fishing industry for the long-term.”

The Treaty Tribes Coalition was established in 1994 and has the support of more than 25 iwi.

The Coalition is seeking the implementation of the “optimum allocation model” that was developed by the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission through a five-year consultation process. At the conclusion of that consultation process two years ago, the model achieved the support of 76 percent of iwi representing 63 percent of Mäori.

The model deals with $350 million of “pre-settlement” fisheries assets, which have been held in trust by the commission since 1989. The commission has also held a further $350 million of “post-settlement” assets since 1992.

The model was a compromise between those iwi that believed assets should be allocated on the basis of coastline and those that believed they should be allocated on the basis of population.

Deepsea quota would be allocated on a 50 percent population, 50 percent coastline basis. Inshore quota would be allocated on a coastline basis. Shares in Moana Pacific Fisheries would be allocated in proportion to the entire quota volume allocated to each iwi. A further $40 million cash would be allocated on the basis of population only, with another $10 million cash kept in trust for those Mäori who are not active members of their iwi organisations. The model also requires that iwi have mandate and accountability mechanisms to deliver to their members, the vast majority of whom are urban residents.

Despite the majority support for the compromise model, allocation is being held up by technical legal challenges by a few individuals. None of these challenges have been found to have merit by the courts, but appeals continue.

Earlier this year, the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) undertook an independent and conservative study into the costs of delaying allocation of the “pre-settlement” assets. Looking at just three costs of delay, including the inability of iwi to form multi-iwi partnerships, it concluded the costs were up to $14 million a year. This would compound to $84 million by 2006 if allocation did not occur immediately.

Following the release of the report, the Treaty Tribes Coalition renewed its call for the Government to fix the law to end the technical legal wrangling. The call was supported unanimously by the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council (SeaFIC) at its annual conference and by New Zealand’s biggest fisheries company, Sanford Ltd.


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