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Labour and National join forces in new Maori confiscations

Labour and National join forces in new Maori confiscations

Chris McKenzie, former-treaty negotiator and Te Tai Hauauru Maori party candidate, says that the Minister of Primary Industries’ plans to remove temporary exemptions for vessel operators derived from settlement negotiations is akin to confiscation and diminishes Treaty settlement assets and our Treaty rights as tangata whenua.

“The Foreign Charter Fishing Vessel legislation currently going through Parliament destroys Maori assets secured through a Treaty settlement."

“The first confiscation of our fisheries resources came when the Government assumed ownership of our taonga. The Fisheries Treaty settlement, which took years to negotiate, was a means for the Crown to redress their assault on our rights, but the Minister’s decision wipes out the value of that settlement."

“National, supported by Labour, will effectively bankrupt some operations by stripping out the right for iwi to get an extension of time to comply. They will tell you it is because iwi should be hiring local and paying a higher wage to boats but don’t be fooled; the National Government had promised temporary exemptions to the iwi working group right up until the last minute when they finally tied down Labour’s support and dropped the bill on the House, suddenly late last night. It’s purely a political decision - their people over ours,” says McKenzie.

The four-year extension would have given tribes time to fully transition to the new compliance regime. That time would mean the difference between staying in business or having to shut shop.

“There appears to be a trend forming with settlements: give iwi assets and then destroy their value a few years later. That is the case with the carbon credits received as part of the forestry settlements. The value disappeared as the Government allowed cheap foreign credits to flood our market” McKenzie says.

“It’s disappointing that Labour, who seemed to have some empathy with the tribes’ position at select committee, has now back-tracked and will support National in this bill."

“If the Government is purposely going to devalue our settlements it may be time to go home and ask the tribe to consider fresh contemporary grievances."


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