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Much More Needed From Horomia


MEDIA STATEMENT

Thursday 3 August 2000 For Immediate Use

MUCH MORE NEEDED FROM HOROMIA

“Much more is needed from the new Minister of Mäori Affairs than today’s very vague statements on appointments to the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission,” Harry Mikaere, Chairman of the Treaty Tribes Coalition, said from Tokomaru Bay tonight.

The Treaty Tribes Coalition has been invited to a hui with Ngäti Porou and the minister at Porourangi Marae, Waiomatatine, at 10.00 am tomorrow. Mr Mikaere said the coalition, as the Treaty partner, would make it views plain to the minister.

“All the minister has done today is make an entry in his own diary and call on others to show leadership,” Mr Mikaere said.

“The Crown itself must show leadership to finally settle the Mäori fisheries claim with its Treaty partner and stop the destruction of $1 million of wealth every month.

“The Crown, as represented by Mr Horomia, must legislate to direct the implementation of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission’s compromise ‘optimum allocation model’ that achieved majority support two years ago from 76 percent of iwi representing 63 percent of Mäori.

“Instead of showing leadership, Mr Horomia’s statements worryingly suggest he is relying on new commissioners to do his work for him. They cannot. They are no longer able to act because of litigation. The issue is now the responsibility of the Crown.
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“What’s more, the minister’s suggestion that new commissioners could find a middle ground is wrong. The middle ground has already been found through five years of consultation and compromise from 1993 to 1998. It led to the compromise ‘optimum allocation model’ that alone has a mandate from iwi and Mäori. The Treaty partner will not accept any attempt by the commission to get us to compromise again.

“The minister must take a ministerial, not bureaucratic, approach to this issue. He must lead by fixing the law and directing the implementation of the compromise model. Every month he delays will cost Mäori and New Zealand $1 million, compounding to $84 million by 2006. That would be wilful neglect by the Crown of its Treaty partner and of the New Zealand seafood industry.”

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” for fisheries assets 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.
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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.

END

Inquiries: Harry Mikaere
Chairman, Treaty Tribes Coalition
021 972669
or
06 864 8437 (tonight only)


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