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New Zealand’s Largest Fishing Company Proposed

14 August 2002

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


New Zealand’s Largest Fishing Company Proposed

The Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission is proposing to create New Zealand’s largest fishing company – Aotearoa Fisheries Limited – to provide a vehicle for Maori to strengthen their influence within the seafood industry.

Through assets held by the Fisheries Commission, Maori currently own or control more than 33 percent of New Zealand’s commercial fishing quota. In unveiling allocation proposals at Hopuhopu, north of Hamilton today, the Chairman of the Commission, Shane Jones, said that Aotearoa Fisheries Limited will initially account for almost 39 percent of total earnings from the industry.

“The total earnings from the New Zealand seafood industry last year were around $1.5 billion. AFL alone will account for a significant percentage of total earnings from the seafood industry, and that will be a real boost for Maori,” Mr Jones said.

The Fisheries Commission currently owns a 50 percent shareholding in international seafood company Sealord Group, an 84 percent shareholding of Moana Pacific Fisheries Limited, a 50 percent shareholding in Prepared Foods Limited and wholly-owns Chatham Processing Limited and Pacific Marine Farms Limited.

Mr Jones said AFL will provide a vehicle for Maori to leverage presence and influence within industry, place Maori in a position where they are the pre-eminent force and provide a platform for Maori fishing interests to grow on a global basis.

“AFL will rank in the top 10 largest primary producers in New Zealand and will rank within the top 50 largest New Zealand businesses in terms of profitability, revenues or total assets,” Mr Jones said.

Mr Jones said the earnings record of the Commission in the time it has managed the five fishing companies has been impressive. “We have grown the Settlement assets by a compounded annual rate of 8.8 percent after tax. This increases to 14.9 percent if distributions to Iwi through the annual lease rounds are included.”

“The Commission has done an excellent job so far, but it has spent more time on allocation work than it has on commercial development of its companies. AFL will be singularly charged with advancing the commercial interests of Maori in the seafood industry,” Mr Jones said.

Ends

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