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Iwi Support Concerns Over Fisheries Amendment Bill

Iwi Support Maori Concerns Over Fisheries Amendment Bill

Joint press statement from Te Runanga a Iwi o Ngapuhi, Ngati Kahungunu, Tuwharetoa, Ngati Whatua, Ngati Maniapoto, Ngai Tahu, Ngati Tama, Ngai Tamanuhiri, Ngati Tama ki te Tau Ihu a Maui, Ngati Manawa, Ngati Rarua, Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Ngati Raukawa Fisheries, Rangitane, Te Kotahitanga o Te Arawa, Te Atiawa ki te Upoko o Te Ika, Te Ika a Maui Freshwater Group

Iwi organisations representing more than half of the Maori population of Aotearoa / New Zealand are backing calls for Parliament to reject Hon Jim Anderton’s power-grabbing attempts to amend Section 10 of the Fisheries Act 1993.

“We have watched developments closely since the Minister of Fisheries introduced this Bill into Parliament and can only form the opinion that he remains intent on passing this despite opposition from many fisheries sectors,” the iwi leaders said today.

“We would expect that in the 21st Century, the New Zealand Government would give more consideration towards the democratic process, the rule of law and the efficacy of the Treaty of Waitangi. Instead, it is becoming more apparent that this Minister wants to ride roughshod over Maori rights.”

“The fact that Primary Production Select Committee was hung in its deliberations over the Fisheries Amendment Bill does not give the Minister support to take this Bill to a Second Reading. It should give the Minister reason to stop, stand back and think about what he’s trying to do.”

“Iwi have been treated with the utmost of contempt by the Ministry of Fisheries and the Minister in regard to the Section 10 proposals. He has branded Maori as being ‘hysterical’ over his flawed shared fisheries plans, accused iwi of being sops for the fishing industry and generally disrespected.

“Iwi have lived and breathed the Quota Management System since 1986. We understand how it works better than most. We know he has the power to make sustainability decisions under the current Act and that his reasons for changing it just do not wash.

“In September this year, he cut some fishstocks because the science wasn’t available to support utilisation at the current level of catch. Kei te pai – we accept that because the decisions were related to sustainability. So what are his reasons for the change now? That’s right! He says he doesn’t have enough power to make decisions based on sustainability. Get real, Minister!

“The Minister claims the changes will be needed to ensure the Fisheries Act is in keeping with the internationally recognised principle of a precautionary approach. Yet he doesn’t understand that the proposed amendments will make the Act inconsistent with those international principles. Get some advice, Minister!

“The Fisheries Act’s raison d’etre is to provide for sustainability and provide for utilisation. The Act requires that the Minister provides only for the level of utilisation at which he will still ensure sustainability. He sets that level after considering all of the other factors involved – the economic, social and cultural aspects,” the iwi said.

Taking the utilisation factors out of the full purpose of the Act will reduce the discipline that has kept us at the forefront of fisheries management around the world. “We urge the Seafood Industry Council and Te Ohu Kaimoana, the Maori Fisheries Trust, to support our call. We urge all Parliamentarians to make themselves aware of the Minister’s power-grabbing attempts to over-ride 20 years of sound fisheries management and vote against this in Parliament.

ENDS

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