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Terms For Negotiation With The Crown

“The Treaty Tribes Coalition is prepared to enter into negotiations with the Crown to fast-track the allocation of ‘pre-settlement’ assets to iwi,” Harry Mikaere, Chairman of the Treaty Tribes Coalition, said in Wellington today.

“This week there has been discussion in the media of a further compromise to fast-track the allocation of the assets and stop the destruction of $1 million of Mäori wealth every month.

“This compromise would be independent of the compromise achieved between 1993 to 1998 to develop the ‘optimum allocation model’.

“It would involve the Crown increasing the $10 million Development Putea for Mäori who are not yet part of their iwi organisations, by transferring to it shares in Moana Pacific Fisheries Ltd currently held by the Minister of Mäori Affairs. The Development Putea would have been doubled to $20 million.

“The Treaty Tribes Coalition is prepared to negotiate towards this outcome if the Crown is able to confirm this week that the above is an acceptable starting point for negotiations.

“We would also require from the Crown confirmation that the following principles would be observed:

1. The principle of Mana Whenua Mana Moana will not be compromised
2. The ‘optimum allocation model’ will not be compromised – it is only the size of the Development Putea that will be the subject of negotiation
3. Negotiations are between the Treaty Tribes Coalition, representing the Treaty partner, and Ministers, representing the Crown
4. All litigation will be withdrawn before negotiations commence
5. The Crown commits in good faith to the implementation of the ‘optimum allocation model’ before the end of this year.”

Mr Mikaere said he had written today to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Fisheries and the Minister of Mäori Affairs outlining the Treaty Tribes Coalition position.

BACKGROUND

The Treaty Tribes Coalition was established in 1994 and has the support of more than 25 iwi.

The Coalition is seeking the implementation of the “optimum allocation model” that was developed by the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission through a five-year consultation process. At the conclusion of that consultation process two years ago, the model achieved the support of 76 percent of iwi representing 63 percent of Mäori.

The model deals with $350 million of “pre-settlement” fisheries assets, which have been held in trust by the commission since 1989. The commission has also held a further $350 million of “post-settlement” assets since 1992.

The model was a compromise between those iwi that believed assets should be allocated on the basis of coastline and those that believed they should be allocated on the basis of population.

Deepsea quota would be allocated on a 50 percent population, 50 percent coastline basis. Inshore quota would be allocated on a coastline basis.

Shares in Moana Pacific Fisheries would be allocated in proportion to the entire quota volume allocated to each iwi.

A further $40 million cash would be allocated on the basis of population only, with another $10 million cash kept in trust for those Mäori who are not active members of their iwi organisations.

The model also requires that iwi have mandate and accountability mechanisms to deliver to their members, the vast majority of whom are urban residents.

Despite the majority support for the compromise model, allocation is being held up by technical legal challenges by a few individuals. None of these challenges have been found to have merit by the courts, but appeals continue.

In April, the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) undertook an independent and conservative study into the costs of delaying allocation of the “pre-settlement” assets. Looking at just three costs of delay, including the inability of iwi to form multi-iwi partnerships, it concluded the costs were up to $14 million a year. This would compound to $84 million by 2006 if allocation did not occur immediately.

Following the May release of the report, the Treaty Tribes Coalition renewed its call for the Government to fix the law to end the technical legal wrangling. The call was supported unanimously by the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council (SeaFIC) at its annual conference and by New Zealand’s biggest fisheries company, Sanford Ltd.

END

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