Background: Te Ohu Kai Moana’s Allocation Proposal
Te Ohu Kai Moana’s Allocation Proposals
You will be aware that Te Ohu Kai Moana recently released its allocation proposals to Iwi. Whilst the allocation proposals have some merit for Moriori, they fall well short of what Moriori consider to be their legitimate interest in the commercial fisheries of Rekohu. Moriori wish to briefly explain to you why we find the allocation proposals unacceptable as they stand. For your interest, we attach a copy of our comments on the proposals that were prepared for Te Ohu Kai Moana.
Hokotehi Moriori Trust represents the interests of all persons of Moriori descent in the customary and commercial fisheries of Rekohu/Rangiauria and accordingly our comments on the allocation proposals are the considered views of all Moriori individuals.
We comment first on our historical dependence on sea fisheries.
Dependence on Sea Fisheries
Rekohu’s population has always been dependent on the resources of the sea surrounding it and this situation continues today. Unlike the mainland with its rich and productive lands, Moriori have relied almost entirely on the resources of the sea in their rohe for their customary, economic and social well-being. Without access to the fisheries resources in the waters around Rekohu, there is no economy on Rekohu and people will be forced to leave the Islands. The situation is quite unlike the mainland, which has a range of resources and where there are other economic options for mainland Iwi. The importance of the fisheries resource to Moriori is clearly outlined in the Report of the Waitangi Tribunal on Moriori and Ngati Mutunga Claims in the Chatham Islands. Section 12.6.2 of the Report notes:
‘the severe restrictions on the ability of [Moriori] fully to enjoy the resources that go naturally with the islands through outside encroachment, affects local [Moriori]’ (Wai 64, 2001); and ‘the concern here is with the economic viability of the islands’ (Wai 64, 2001).
The restoration of our traditional commercial fishing rights is the only effective way to address Moriori customary, social and economic needs. These objectives, traditional and socio-economic, can 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. The inshore resources in the fisheries waters of Rekohu supported Moriori in former times and the deepwater resources of Rekohu are the development right of Moriori. Accordingly all of these resources are taonga of Rekohu. We turn to our key concerns with the allocation proposals. There are four key areas of the allocation proposals as they stand that we do not accept – the allocation of deepwater resources, the allocation of cash and shares, arrangements for dealing with quota shortfalls and the Electoral College concept. We explain briefly why we reject the Commission’s proposals in these areas.
Separate Fishery and Allocation of PRESA/POSA Quota
Moriori is pleased that the Commission has recognised the legitimacy and validity of a separate fishery for Rekohu in its allocation proposals. Unfortunately, however, the Commission has chosen to display a faint heart on the matter of allocation of the fisheries resources in the proposed separate fishery for Rekohu. The proposals allocate all of the inshore resources but only 50% of the deepwater resources to Chatham’s Iwi. The remaining 50% of deepwater resources are to be shared with mainland Iwi on a population basis. With the small population of the Chatham's Iwi, in effect this means the remaining 50% will be allocated to mainland Iwi. In our view this is tantamount to the sequestration of a significant part of Moriori’s Treaty rights in commercial fisheries. We cannot and will not accept this.
Allocation of Cash and Shares
Moriori rejects the proposal to allocate cash on the basis of Iwi population. In an effort to commence and develop its fishing business, Moriori requires access to working capital. With its small population, under the proposals, Moriori would be allocated a paltry sum of cash (in the order of $25,000) that would be completely insufficient to meet even its most reasonable need for working capital.
Moriori also completely reject the proposals for the allocation of shares in Commission owned companies. We are entitled, in terms of the restoration of our Treaty rights and the Fisheries Settlement, to preferential access to the settlement assets that are substantially or wholly reliant on fishers based in Rekohu or on resources harvested exclusively inside the separate Rekohu zone. Chathams Processing Ltd, a subsidiary of the Commission owns significant quantities of Chatham Islands inshore stocks that support cornerstone fisheries on Rekohu and rely significantly on Rekohu resident commercial fishers. Chathams Processing Limited is the single largest employer on Rekohu. It would be incongruous for ownership of this business to pass to the control of other Iwi or TOKM, as is proposed in Ahu Whakamua, when both the resources the company fishes as well as the people it employs are core elements of the Chathams economy.
Shortfalls in Quota
You will be aware that as part of the Fisheries Settlement, the Crown was obligated to transfer 10% of all fishstocks to the Commission. The Crown was unable to meet its obligations for all fishstocks and transferred an equivalent amount of cash to the Commission in lieu of shortfalls in quota. When and if allocation occurs, the Commission’s holdings for several key fishstocks on Rekohu (particularly ORH3B and PAU4) are likely to be well below the 10% level. The Commission has proposed that the quota shortfalls be made up with ‘cash equivalents’ with the cash equivalent to be calculated using ‘official’ Ministry of Fisheries data on average quota trading prices. The Ministry’s data on quota trades is often heavily distorted by occasional trades that are reported to the Ministry at nominal prices, which are clearly not representative of the true price. If the average trading prices are used for calculating cash equivalents for shortfalls, there is a very clear risk that Moriori (and other Iwi) will be substantially disadvantaged as the ‘cash equivalent’ will not reflect the true cost of purchase/replacement of the quota. Moriori require that an independent industry expert be appointed to assist in establishing fair market prices to be used in calculating ‘cash equivalents’.
Moriori are completely opposed to their Treaty rights or interests in commercial fisheries, including the appointment of Commissioners, being represented by anyone other than ourselves. Accordingly, we do not accept the proposal for an Electoral College. Moriori must be able to participate directly in the process of appointing Commissioners to TOKM whether this is by voting or other means.
As they stand, the allocation proposals do not adequately reflect the legitimate Treaty interests of Moriori in the fisheries off Rekohu and therefore do not provide an acceptable basis for Moriori to rebuild its position in the fishing industry in Rekohu and sustain the cultural, economic and social fabric of Moriori well into the future. If the allocation proposals were implemented, serious detriment would be caused to Moriori.