June 15, 2023
Treaty fishing rights not political burley
A Muriwhenua tribal representative says the Government needs to park up plans for a giant ocean sanctuary around the Kermadec Islands and tackle some of the more serious issues facing the country.
A special general meeting of Te Ohu Kaimoana yesterday rejected a plan which included a bigger role for Maori in running the proposed sanctuary.
Penetaui Klescovic from Te Aupouri says the original idea came from a United States environmental lobby group and was picked up as a political stunt by former prime minister John Key – and it ignored the rights iwi received in the Maori Fisheries Settlement to develop fisheries in the 620,000 square kilometre area.
“The response from iwi was a strong no. Why should Maori have their interests and their rights turned into political burley? And why is the opportunity cost of conservation majority paid by tangata whenua when we are not going to get anything in return,” he says.
Mr Klescovic says the waters immediately around the Kermadecs are already fully protected, and iwi are keen to take the lead in the wider conservation effort.