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Iwi Fire Salvo In Battle Over Water Space

11 February 2002

Iwi Fire Salvo In Battle Over Water Space

Iwi with advanced applications for the growing aquaculture industry today fired the first salvo in their campaign for exclusion from the Government’s proposed moratorium on water space applications for marine farms.

Around 90 percent of all the notified water space applications affected by the moratorium are sole Iwi fisheries initiatives or join initiatives with larger fisheries companies such as Sealord in Nelson or Moana Pacific Fisheries in Auckland.

At a press conference in Wellington today, Iwi gave details of how the moratorium would affect their investments, including job creation.

The aquaculture industry generated sales in excess of $280 million in 2000 and has said that with managed expansion it could achieve export earnings of $1 billion by 2020.

The proposed Resource Management Aquaculture Moratorium Amendment Bill freezes for more than two years all applications for water space that were not being heard at 28 November 2001. This includes notified applications, which have met all the information and consultation requirements councils seek before calling for public submissions.

The bill is of major significance to a number of Iwi who have applied for water space for aquaculture because they see benefits to their people and the wider region. These include economic development, job opportunities and the growth of traditional kai moana in commercial quantities.

Notified applications are for about 17000 hectares of water space – in land terms about 9 percent of the Molesworth station – and Maori interests are involved in 90 percent of that space.

Iwi present at today’s press conference included representatives from Ngati Whatua, Ngati Kahungunu, Whakatohea, Te Atiawa I te Tau Ihu, Ngati Koata and Hauraki.

Josie Anderson from Hauraki today said aquaculture came about as a need to rebuild the fisheries that belong to Hauraki. “Hauraki saw it as a means of rebuilding a customary stock – the mussel beds that were destroyed by dredging. To some degree it’s exceeded what we wanted to do, but there’s the potential to rebuild quantities to build global demands.”

“Ultimately, the moratorium puts at risk around 500 jobs and $1.5 million per annum for Hauraki,” she said. “We, like all other representatives here today, have issues over natural justice: that our applications have gone through the right processes in good faith. All applications lodged prior to 28 November 2001 should be allowed through.”

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Pat Park of Te Atiawa I te Tau Ihu (South Island) said that his Iwi had been involved in aquaculture mussel farming for many years. “We’ve been active for many years and committed $400,000 on Environment Court, environmental assessments and expert witnesses.” Indirectly, Te Atiawa would be looking to employ up to 120 people in the near future.

Dion Paul of Rangitoto Mussels Ltd and Ngati Koata Iwi, said today that through sole Iwi initiatives and joint venture arrangements, Ngati Koata has spent thousand satisfying regulatory requirements and aquaculture job creation opportunities.

“Ngati Koata views aquaculture as a key strategic industry for the economic development of our Iwi and whanau. The moratorium puts paid to these efforts, and goes against good faith and natural justice as currently proposed.”

Ngahiwi Tomoana, of Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated, said his Iwi has spent more than $250,000 on advancing aquaculture applications that will create between 300 and 500 jobs. “Kahungunu has studied aquaculture over the last five years. As the wet-fish biomass reduces, we’ve looked at ways to make endeavours on the water. Moreover, our customary fisheries have also declined. Of seven mussel beds, there’s only two that we can get safe kai from,” he said.

“We view aquaculture as part of our cultural renaissance – employment and the economic contribution. We’d rather be a provider than a benefactor. We’ll provide jobs and move away from the dependency of the Te Ohu Kai Moana-Sealord deal by moving towards a more culturally appropriate international industry. We would not have engaged in it at all if it was ecologically damaging within our rohe.”

Mr Tomoana said the moratorium was, “trampling our whakapapa birth rights, especially to farm the sea. Our birth right to farm the land has been stripped, and now our birthright to farm the sea is being taken from us as well. It’s another step to remove our rangatiratanga.”

Tahu Taia, Whakatohea in Bay of Plenty, said their applications will bring 400 jobs at full operation. “There will be a 20,000 tonne output when all the water space is utilised. The Bay of Plenty is a deprived area – with big problems both socially and economically. Aquaculture will help provide jobs in an economically depressed area.”

“Aquaculture brings new opportunities, new horizons, new technology, and it brings risks. But Whakatohea is prepared to enter into that arrangement. The moratorium is another barrier to that.”

Hally Toia, of Ngati Whatua, said of Ngati Whatua’s investment: “There will be jobs for anyone of Ngati Whatua in the Kaipara Harbour. Over time we expect to build the income of the communities in the Kaipara where the standard of living is back to what it was in the 50s and 60s.”


For more information contact Te Ohu Kai Moana Communications Manager
Glenn Hema Inwood on 021 498 010

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