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Treaty Tribes Congratulate New Minister

“All 25 iwi who support the Treaty Tribes Coalition join with me in congratulating the Hon. Parekura Horomia on becoming Minister of Mäori Affairs,” Harry Mikaere, Chairman of the Treaty Tribes Coalition, said today.

“If ever there was a need for certainty in Mäori policy it is now. We wish the new Minister all the best in bringing certainty to the portfolio,” Mr Mikaere said.

“We urge him also to bring certainty to the New Zealand seafood industry by acting now to implement the Optimum Allocation Model for Mäori fisheries assets. The model was developed through five years of consultation and compromise and achieved the support of 76 percent of iwi representing 63 percent of Mäori. It also has the unanimous support of the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council.

“Directing the implementation of this historic compromise is the single best step the new Minister could take to help build business confidence, develop regional economies and close the gaps between Mäori and non-Mäori. He knows that delaying allocation is costing Mäori over $1 million a month, every month.”

END

Inquiries: Harry Mikaere
Chairman, Treaty Tribes Coalition
021 972669
BACKGROUND

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.

Deep-sea 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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