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Parliament warned not to undermine iwi governance


August 3, 2004

Parliament warned not to undermine iwi governance

Any move by Parliament to determine iwi boundaries would seriously jeopardise, not only the allocation of Maori fisheries assets, but the whole Treaty settlement process, according to Kahungunu Trust Board chairman, Ngahiwi Tomoana.

“The media speculation that the Fisheries and other Sea-related Select Committee is recommending two new iwi for the purposes of allocating fisheries assets strikes at the heart of our ability to govern and manage our own iwi,” he said.

It has been reported that the Select Committee will recommend the formation of two new iwi, Ngati Hine in the North and Rongomaiwahine on the east coast.

“For a Select Committee of Parliament to recommend new iwi is no different to Parliament deciding which branch of a family is legal beneficiaries to a will. Just as our legal system is the appropriate forum to resolve this issue, so too we have a Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission and in the case of Crown settlements, the Waitangi Tribunal, to recommend on iwi boundary issues,” he said.

“Parliament is setting the most dangerous of precedents, if it proceeds down this path, and it will result in more years of litigation and legal redress.

“I would have thought Parliament had enough on its plate with the Foreshore and Seabed Bill without taking away the right of iwi to manage their own affairs.”

ENDS

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