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Commission Announces Allocation Model

14 August 2002

Embargoed To 11:00am, Wednesday, 14 Aug 2002

Commission Announces Allocation Model

The Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission today announced an allocation model that proposes millions of dollars worth of fisheries quota, cash and shares be returned to Iwi, as well as the creation of the largest fishing company in New Zealand to provide long-term benefits for all Maori.

The Commission today released allocation proposal for more than $700 million worth of Maori Commercial Fisheries assets at a special launch at Hopuhopu, north of Hamilton.

The Chairman of the Commission, Shane Jones, said this was the strongest and most robust method for allocation of assets and distribution of benefits of the Fisheries Settlement ever devised by the Commission.

“The Settlement is full and final. That means we must provide a proposal that will be durable, will ultimately provide for all Maori, will grow and enhance the position of Maori in the fishing industry and, in doing so, create structures that look to the future.”

“These proposals strengthen Iwi through the allocation of substantial fisheries resources, such as inshore and deepwater quota and cash. But they also provide for increased Maori strength within a globally competitive fishing industry that will return long-term gains for the benefit of all Maori.”

Mr Jones said hard choices had to be made - the model of allocation represents difficult compromises by all Commissioners involved. However, all elements of the model had the unanimous support of Commission members. These proposals reflect the two schools of thought that the assets should be allocated exclusively on the basis of coastline or exclusively on the basis of population.

“We made the hard choices, the tough compromises. It’s now up to Iwi to make the same hard choices. No-one will have the luxury of standing firm on their demands. It’s time to work together if we want to achieve resolution of fisheries allocation,” Mr Jones said.

“The Commission is required to oversee the implementation of the Fisheries Settlement in a way that is ultimately for the benefit of all Maori. With this in mind, we are placing some assets directly with Iwi and others will be managed centrally.”

Elements of the model are:

- All Inshore Quota worth $158.47 million is to be allocated to Iwi through a coastline formula. (Inshore Quota is defined as fishstocks caught at depths down to 300 metres);

- All Deepwater Quota worth $132.51 million is to be allocated to Iwi through a 75 % Iwi population: 25% Iwi Coastline formula. (Deepwater Quota is defined as those fishstocks caught at depths greater than 300 metres);

- $20.7 million worth of cash is to be allocated to Iwi using a population formula;

- $20 million will be set aside for a Putea (fund) for all Maori, particularly those who cannot find or do not associate with their Iwi;

- The creation of the largest fishing company in New Zealand - Aotearoa Fisheries Limited - that will issue “income shares” to all Iwi on a population basis. AFL will be required to pay out 40% of net profit after tax to owners of “income shares”; and

- Separate provision will be made for Chatham Islands Iwi, who will be allocated quota on the basis of a separate fishery for a 200 mile zone around the Chathams. All Inshore Quota in that zone will be allocated to the Chathams, while all Deepwater Quota within that zone allocated 50% to the Chathams and 50% to all Iwi on a population basis.

Mr Jones said Aotearoa Fisheries Limited will be wholly Maori owned and singularly hold the largest amount of fisheries assets in New Zealand. It will compete strongly in the competitive seafood industry, domestically and internationally, and provide employment for Maori and annual dividends to Iwi.

“This means that Iwi will receive a share of potentially millions of dollars each year on top of the millions of dollars associated with owning significant amounts of fishing quota,” Mr Jones said.

AFL will also aim to expand the percentage of Maori employed through Maori-owned fishing companies. The businesses that will come under AFL - Sealord Group, Moana Pacific Fisheries, Prepared Foods Group, Pacific Marine Farms and Chatham Processing Group - currently employ around 3000 staff, a quarter of whom are of Maori descent. “This is significantly higher than the percentage of Maori employed in the fishing industry generally.”

He said the Commission is required to develop a method of allocation that recognises the settlement is for all Maori - this has been achieved through elements such as centralising ownership of the Commission’s companies, including Sealord Group and Moana Pacific Fisheries, creating a $20 million Putea, and ensuring all Iwi are able to provide for their members irrespective of where they live.

The proposals for allocation of assets and distribution of benefits are fully detailed in a publication called Ahu Whakamua - Report for Agreement or a summary version of the same name.

Iwi and interested Maori organisations have seven weeks to look over the proposals and signal to the Fisheries Commission their support before Commissioners develop a report to the Minister, as required by the Maori Fisheries Act 1989 and the Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act 1992.

ENDS


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