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Commission Welcomes Iwi Forum Support

Commission Welcomes Iwi Forum Support

The Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission today welcomed support from the Iwi Forum for the Commission to report to the Minister of Fisheries the Ahu Whakamua allocation model for the Maori Fisheries Settlement.

The Chief Executive of the Fisheries Commission, Robin Hapi, said the Commission had been in discussions with all Iwi since launching its Ahu Whakamua proposals in August.

“Iwi Forum’s contribution and other individual Iwi contributions have improved the model. The Commission now has near unanimous support from Maori for providing a report to the Minister on allocation proposals,” he said.

Support for reporting Ahu Whakamua to the Minister stands at 93.1 percent of Iwi organisations, representing 96.77 percent of the Iwi affiliate population. “It’s exciting to have reached this stage after more than 10 years of debate and with the announcement today by Iwi Forum, the Commission is on track to begin allocating quota, shares and cash from 1 October next year,” Mr Hapi said.

The Iwi Forum has agreed that in the interests of realising a conclusion to the allocation debate it was prepared to support the reporting of Ahu Whakamua, with agreed amendments. Those amendments include agreed changes to the Right of First Refusal of Settlement Quota and an independent review of structures, accountability and performance after 12 years.

Ahu Whakamua proposes allocating all of the cash and quota – both inshore and deepwater – that make up part of the $700 million worth of Maori fisheries assets currently held by the Commission. It also proposes pooling the strength of the Maori-owned fishing companies into one company – Aotearoa Fisheries Limited – and issuing “income shares” to all Iwi. Aotearoa Fisheries will be required to distribute 40 percent of its Net Profit After Tax each year to the holders of the income shares.

Mr Hapi said: “It is now time to take the final steps to resolve the issues for the benefit of both Maori and the wider New Zealand community. We have an excellent opportunity to move from grievance to growth with this support, and bring about a better future for all Maori.”

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