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Oceans Policy on hold until seabed issue resolved

2nd September 2003

Press Release

Oceans Policy on hold until foreshore and seabed issue resolved

The Maori Working Group has suspended its work with the Oceans Policy Secretariat until the foreshore and seabed issues have been resolved. The group notified the Fisheries Minister of their decision yesterday.

Spokesperson Kevin Robinson (Te Rarawa) says the development of an Oceans Policy and the issues being addressed under the heading of foreshore and seabed are intimately related.

He says “We felt that no further progress can or should be made on Oceans Policy until some certainty has been reached in the treatment of our inherent customary rights and responsibilities in the marine environment. “

Cabinet agreed in July 2000 to develop an overarching framework that will ensure an integrated and consistent management of the oceans within New Zealand’s jurisdiction. Maori have been involved in every step of the consultation and policy development process to ensure they are active participants in the decision-making.

Kevin says “Maori involvement in the Oceans Policy is a good model for the Government to follow. It is a shame that it did not go through a similar process before releasing its foreshore and seabed proposal. It could have avoided all the drama it is currently facing.”

Kevin says the Maori Working Group looks forward to resuming the very constructive working relationship that has evolved with the Government’s Secretariat.


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