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Lease Round Allegations Unfounded

14 August 2002

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

Lease Round Allegations Unfounded

Claims that the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission’s proposals for allocation of more than $700 million worth of fisheries assets to Iwi must take into account “inequitable” past lease rounds are without substance and not included in the proposals released today.

The Commission’s Chief Executive, Robin Hapi, said today that the Commission had analysed all past lease rounds to Iwi and found there were no “inequitable” leases.

“A careful analysis of past lease rounds has been done and the Commission has found no evidence of inequities. Therefore, there was no need to make allowance for this in any allocation model,” he said.

“Our inquiries have satisfactorily established that all Iwi were treated consistently in the tender and lease rounds. The same processes and methodology were applied to all Iwi in terms of entitlement to participate in the tender or lease of quota. The Commission has not identified any errors of process or substance in the tender and lease rounds that have not been dealt with or could reasonably be described as an inequity.”

In October 1993, a methodology for leasing quota was implemented following extensive consultation with Iwi. This methodology was based on the length of an Iwi’s coastline in a particular Fisheries Management Area and the size of its population and is a formula based on principles emanating from the Maori Fisheries Act and various other findings, including Waitangi Tribunal reports

The findings of the court proceedings relating to these matters have supported the Commissions position.

“Some challenges occurred, but the majority were about boundary disputes between Iwi and issues over who are the rightful representatives of the Iwi. There have been some challenges to the actual methodology, but ultimately the methodology has been held up by the courts,” Mr Hapi said.

Ends

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