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Treaty Tribes Have No Confidence In Horomia


MEDIA STATEMENT

Monday 9 April 2001 For Immediate Use

TREATY TRIBES HAVE NO CONFIDENCE IN HOROMIA

“The Treaty Tribes Coalition has no confidence in Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia,” Harry Mikaere, Chairman of the Coalition said today.

“His statements reported in this morning’s Dominion at are odds with those he made to the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission AGM over the weekend, and are odds with assurances made to the Treaty Tribes Coalition by the Prime Minister,” Mr Mikaere said.

“Over the weekend, Mr Horomia told the AGM that he was committed to the speedy allocation of iwi fisheries assets currently held in trust by the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission.

“This was consistent with what the Prime Minister told the Treaty Tribes Coalition when we met her on 26 March.

“Upon leaving the AGM, Mr Horomia then told journalists that allocation could in fact mean retention of the assets by the Commission, with dividends paid to iwi.

“Some may find Mr Horomia’s verbal gymnastics entertaining but iwi whose economic future relies on the allocation of these assets do not.

“The Crown must urgently clarify whether the Government’s messages are consistent among different Ministers and different audiences.

“We cannot tolerate Mr Horomia’s mixed messages any longer when over $350 million of our assets are at stake.”

Background

The Treaty Tribes Coalition was established in 1994 and has the support of more than 35 iwi.

The Coalition is seeking the immediate 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 the consultation process in 1998, the model achieved the support of 76 percent of iwi representing 63 percent of Maori.

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 the assets should be allocated on the basis of coastline and those iwi that believed they should be allocated on the basis of population. All iwi agreed that allocation should be to iwi.

Under the model, 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 total 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 a Development Putea for those Maori who are not yet 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 the technical legal challenges of a few individuals. None of these challenges have been found to have merit by the courts, but legal action continues.

In May 2000, 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.

It looked at just three costs of delay relating only to the quota component of the assets, including the inability of iwi to form long-term multi-iwi partnerships. From just these three costs, 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 2000 annual conference.

On 19 September 2000, the Coalition and representatives of 36 iwi presented the draft Maori Fisheries Amendment Bill to all Members of Parliament. If enacted, this draft bill would direct the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission to immediately implement the “optimum allocation model” and stop the destruction of wealth.

The Minister of Maori Affairs said he would refer the draft bill to Cabinet and the commission, while the National Party said it would support it. The draft bill has been placed in the ballot to be introduced as a Private Member’s Bill.

On 11 November 2000, a Hui Taumata at Waipatu Marae saw representatives of 36 iwi support the resolutions that Parliament immediately implement the Maori Fisheries Amendment Bill and that this hui demands the allocation of all our fisheries assets and will not entertain the non-allocation of deepsea quota. These resolutions were sent to the Government.

END

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