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Opposition To Fisheries Amendment Bill Continues

PRESS STATEMENT 16 November 2007

Maori Opposition To Fisheries Amendment Bill Continues To Grow

Iwi organisations that represent almost 70 percent of the Maori population throughout the country have now opposed Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton's proposals to amend Section 10 of the Fisheries Act 1993.

Tainui in the Waikato and Ngati Porou on the East Coast of the North Island today added their support to 18 iwi and Maori fishing groups opposing the Fisheries Amendment Bill earlier this week.

Leaders of iwi organisations that represent more than 463,000 iwi affiliated Maori throughout the country have now called on the Government to scrap the Section 10 proposals because they are not necessary and have the potential to put Maori fishing investment at serious risk.

"It's not enough for Mr Anderton to brush Maori aside by saying we have nothing to worry about. We have very real concerns about this amendment to the current law and we are being ignored," said Mr Tukoroirangi Morgan from Tainui. "Iwi have made a huge investment in the fisheries sector and we have all made commitments to the sustainability of this important resource. Our concerns deserve to be heard, not ignored."

The chairman of Ngati Porou, Mr Api Mahuika, said the East Coast iwi had discussed the Fisheries Amendment Bill issues with neighbouring iwi and others involved in the fishing industry and shared their concerns.

"If this Government believes it can brush aside the views of iwi representing almost 70 percent of the iwi affiliated Maori population, then it's not a good sign for democracy. Frankly, we recommend the Minister take note of what we are saying and consult with us before taking this proposal any further," Mr Mahuika said.

On Monday 12 November, 18 iwi and Maori fishing groups publicly made their views known through a major media statement. This viewpoint is quickly gaining more and more support throughout the country, Mr Morgan and Mr Mahuika said.

"It's time to scrap this bill in the face of overwhelming opposition," they said.

ENDS

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