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Treaty Tribes Will Not Support Non-Allocation

3 December 2001

The Treaty Tribes Coalition cannot and will not support any proposals for fisheries “allocation” that do not recognise that the assets belong to iwi and should be returned to iwi, Treaty Tribes Coalition chairman Harry Mikaere said today.

Mr Mikaere was commenting on the “Allocation Discussion Document” launched by Te Ohu Kai Moana (the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission) at Hopu Hopu on Saturday.

“The whole reason that there are fisheries assets to allocate is because the Crown agreed with iwi to settle the Maori fisheries claims. They are a Treaty right that the Courts – all the way to the Privy Council – have upheld.

“The Government should remind the Commissioners that they are only managing our assets until they are returned to iwi. TOKM’s job is simply to find a method of giving our assets back. They should get on with it.”

Mr Mikaere said three of the four options proposed by Te Ohu Kai Moana were not allocation models at all, but models for the permanent retention of all or part of iwi assets by TOKM or its successor.

”Where did they get the mandate for this approach?

“In ten years, I have never heard one iwi raise the idea that a central body should continue to manage all of the assets. It’s an idea that has no legitimate whakapapa in this debate. For the Commission to propose holding the assets is contrary to the deed of Settlement, the principles of the Treaty, and the Treaty of Waitangi settlements.

“What’s more, we have serious doubts as to the legality of the approach and the validity of the economic arguments used to support it.”

Mr Mikaere said an obvious example was some of the asset values used in the document.

”Previously TOKM had been putting a valuation on Moana Pacific Fisheries Ltd of $70 million. Now, it values the company at $36 million. Similarly, the amount of “PRESA” cash has dropped from $50 million to $32 million.

“It appears that centralised asset management, which is at the heart of three of TOKM’s proposals, has cost iwi some $50 million in the last year alone. This strengthens our resolve to see all of the fisheries assets allocated to their iwi owners at the earliest opportunity.”

Mr Mikaere said that while the document was lengthy it raised at least as many questions as it answered. Crucial details were missing in relation to several of the proposals, for example, what a proposed super trust might do with the dividends earned from the iwi assets.
Treaty Tribes had already stated its commitment to leading a drive for consensus among the iwi owners of the assets to resolve the issue. “We will attend all of the Commission’s hui to talk with iwi and hear first hand their views on allocation. We will then work to ensure that this process concludes.

“I take very strong exception to Shane Jones’ comments that TOKM does not have a finite lifespan. The Maori fisheries assets do not belong to the Commission. They are not there to guarantee commission members a job.

“The assets are the result of a Treaty settlement between the Crown and iwi Maori. It is iwi Maori, not the Commission, who will decide how the assets should be managed.”

Mr Mikaere said TOKM, and the Government, should remember that more than 35 iwi unanimously stated their position at a hui at Waipatu in November 2000: “This hui demands the allocation of all our fisheries assets and will not entertain non-allocation.”

………………………………

Last week, Treaty Tribes reminded everyone of the principles to guide allocation which have emerged over the last ten years of discussion and debate between iwi.

Five principles are about allocation:
 Consistency with the Treaty of Waitangi, recognising that The Treaty is a contract between iwi Mäori and the Crown
 Acknowledging that property rights belong to iwi Mäori and that allocation of the settlement assets must therefore be to iwi - recognising all Mäori must ultimately benefit
 Consistency with the terms of settlements - meaning the specific agreements and undertakings negotiated in good faith with the Crown
 Consistency with the Taumata Paepae
 Consistency with the concessions already made in developing the Optimum Allocation Model.

Four principles are about implementation:
 That any proposals must facilitate the entry of Mäori into the business and activity of fishing
 Promoting iwi readiness to manage their assets
 Ensuring iwi have the same asset rights as other New Zealanders to work effectively in a highly competitive international industry
 Ensuring any successor to TOKM is accountable to iwi.

Treaty Tribes’ undertaking is to support any allocation model that is founded on these underlying principles.
……………………………………..
The Treaty Tribes Coalition was formed in 1994 to represent the interests of those iwi that were committed to the resolution of the fisheries assets allocation debate on principled terms that are consistent with the terms of the original fisheries settlements and tikanga Mäori. The constituent members of Treaty Tribes are: Hauraki Mäori Trust Board (representing the 12 iwi of Hauraki); Ngäti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated Ngäi Tamanuhiri Whänui Trust; Ngäti Tama Manawhenua Ki Te Tau Ihu Trust and Te Runanga o Ngäi Tahu.

Ends

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