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Response to Fisheries announcement

Media Release 08 September 2014

Ngātiwai want answers on government plans for recreational fishing parks

Ngātiwai Trust Board chairman Haydn Edmonds says the government must answer questions on its proposal to create a recreational fishing park in the Hauraki Gulf if it is re-elected.

The Government yesterday announced its plans for the park which would cover the inner gulf and Omaha Bay and exclude all commercial activity.

“The National party’s plan for a one-off compensation package for commercial fishers up to $20 million is an inadequate brush-off for a pan-Maori fisheries settlement that is supposed to be full and final; and there is no mention of the fate of customary fishing in the area,” Mr. Edmonds says.

“And, what about those who earn their livelihood through commercial fishing in the Hauraki Gulf? These plans, if they go ahead, will significantly affect Ngātiwai customary fishing rights as they relate to both the commercial and non-commercial components of the 1992 Fisheries Settlement.

“We need to get some clear answers on when the Article III right of citizens under the Treaty of Waitangi took precedence over Article II rights that promised Maori the full, ‘exclusive and undisturbed posession of our fisheries’.

“That Treaty promise was never honoured, and after many years of arguing and trips to the Privy Council in London it was finally resolved in the 1992 Fisheries settlement. That settlement now looks set to be unravelled with this proposal to claw back hard won rights awarded to Iwi/Maori in compensation for the original thieft of our customary rights.

“This National government’s proposal will set a dangerous precedent and send a clear message to all those with property rights, including home owners, that National is happy to unilaterally extinguish your ownership rights for a few extra votes from Auckland recreational fishermen.

“As far as I am aware there has been no discussions with Iwi about such plans so yesterday’s announcement has come as a complete shock to us. It is dishonourable to the Treaty partner and speaks volumes about the direction that National is moving in.”

He adds that Ngātiwai are far from content with the ad hoc regulatory regimes applied in its territory on the whim of subsequent governments.

“The Ngātiwai Trust Board is not satisfied with the implementation of the customary non-commercial fishing regulations within our rohe which have lingered in disputes for many years while a number of Marine Reserve proposals have progressed and threatens to extinguish our access rights to traditional fishing grounds,” Mr. Edmonds says.

“Nor are we happy with the Government of the day constantly meddling with the customary commercial component through populist election promises that threaten to unravel the supposed Full and Final 1992 Fisheries Settlement.

“Ngatiwai Trust Board is poised, awaiting Crown recognition of a Deed of Mandate which will give the Ngatiwai Trust Board the ability to enter into negotiations with the Crown to discuss these and broader Treaty matters that we consider need fixing up.

“Commercial and customary fishing is the Ngātiwai lifeblood and not to have this properly discussed with us doesn’t stack up,” Mr. Edmonds says.

“At the minimum we would expect to be properly consulted, and these plans discussed with us, other affected Iwi and commercial fishing operations.

“We have a number of questions over this proposal and we would want answers on if it progresses.”

If re-elected the government says it will put up a discussion paper in November.

ENDS

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