Harry Mikaere Seafood Week Speech
Seafood Week 2001
Invercargill Thursday 3 May 2001
I want to say just a few words.
Last year, the Treaty Tribes Coalition came to the seafood industry conference with a grievance. We had just received economic research that showed delays in allocating our fisheries assets were costing our people $1 million a month. We argued that that wasn’t a cost only for Maori. It was a cost for the whole industry and for all New Zealanders. We called on the Government to fix the law to achieve allocation.
The seafood industry was the first to stand alongside us, with the unanimous resolution in favour of allocation. Tonight, we want to say thank you for your support. And we want to celebrate what we have achieved since then.
Iwi are working more closely together, and more closely with others in the industry, to build successful seafood businesses. The East Coast Iwi Consortium is a good example. We forecast that it will perform this year as well as anyone else in the industry.
We now have legislation that would achieve allocation in the ballot for introduction to Parliament. We have met hundreds of community leaders, and secured their support for allocation.
Most importantly, this year the Government has made a commitment to achieve allocation before the next election. It has been made in meetings with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Maori Affairs.
The Government’s commitment means we can put our grievance behind us. We have lost over $12 million in the last year because of delays in allocation, and we face big costs later this month at the Privy Council in London. But the Government’s commitment means those costs are coming to an end. We can now look forward, not backwards. We can shift from “grievance mode” to “economic development mode”.
We look forward to working with you, to strengthen our commercial relationships over the months ahead. Thank you for your support. Iwi look forward to fishing with you in 2002.