September 14, 2016
Treaty rights threatened by Kermadec grab
The Government must try to save its plans for a Kermadec ocean sanctuary after losing the backing of its support parties by riding roughshod over Maori rights.
After Te Ohu Kaimoana announced its compromise offer had been rejected by Environment Minister Nick Smith, the Maori Party indicated it would try to negotiate a solution.
ACT leader David Seymour also ruled out voting for the bill because it would extinguish property rights of Maori and other quota holders.
That would leave National relying on the Greens, so Prime Minister John Key instead announced the bill would be delayed until a way was found around the impasse.
Te Ohu Kaimoana chair Jamie Tuuta says by unilaterally extinguishing rights confirmed in the 1992 fisheries settlement, the Government was walking away from a full and final settlement.
"This will be the Government's foreshore and seabed. They are taking away real rights that are an important part of the first treaty settlement and therefore risking every treaty settlement which has followed," he says.
Mr Tuuta says it doesn’t matter that there has been little commercial fishing around the Kermadecs because the Maori fisheries right includes the right to develop in the future, without being dictated to by the crown.
Audio supplied courtesy of RNZ
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