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Fisheries Proposals For Chathams Theft - Moriori


The Commission’s Allocation Proposals For The Chatham Islands – Nothing Short Of Theft

“The Commission’s proposal to allocate 50% of the deepwater resources in the special Chatham Islands fishery on the basis of Iwi populations is nothing short of theft of Moriori property rights by formula”, said Mr Alfred Preece, Chairman of Hokotehi Moriori Trust today.

Hokotehi Moriori Trust is the body representing the interests of all people of Moriori descent in the commercial and customary fisheries of Rekohu and Rangiauria, as the Islands are known to Moriori. Mr Preece’s comments on the allocation proposals come on the eve of the deadline for receipt of Iwi comments on the allocation proposals.

“Moriori customary, social and economic needs could only be dealt with effectively through the application of a separate fishery allocation model for Rekohu that will allocate all of the fisheries assets around Rekohu to Chatham’s Iwi. All of these resources are taonga of Rekohu and not mainland Iwi”, said Mr Preece.

Mr Preece said that the Commission had displayed a faint heart on the matter of allocation of the fisheries resources in the proposed separate fishery for Rekohu. With its small population, the allocation proposals in effect would mean that Chathams Iwi would be allocated little more than 50% of the deepwater resources in the separate fishery.

“This would deny Moriori opportunities to re-build its fishing business and to create additional wealth and a stronger Chathams economy”, said Mr Preece. Mr Preece said that Moriori had also targeted CPL as a legitimate Chathams fishing asset. Moriori believed that Chathams Iwi were entitled to preferential access to the ownership of shares of CPL because it was substantially reliant on fishers based in Rekohu or on resources harvested exclusively inside the separate Rekohu zone by Rekohu fishers.

“We are also concerned with other aspects of the proposals”, said Mr Preece.

Moriori would receive a paltry sum of cash because of its small population. The Commission also had insufficient quota for some key fishstocks in the Chathams and unless Moriori received a “cash equivalent” based on realistic current market values, Moriori would be hugely disadvantaged. Moriori could also not accept the Electoral College proposal, as it would mean that they could not participate directly in the appointment of Commissioners.

“We are also deeply disappointed that the Commission has not visited the Islands to present its proposals and to listen to our response”, said Mr Preece. “We feel that the Commission lacks the courage to face up to its responsibilities to Chathams Iwi”, said Mr Preece.

“It was almost inevitable that Moriori will need to challenge the allocation proposals as they stand, however, we will wait for the Commission’s next steps before we decide on the type of action that we need to take”, said Mr Preece.

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