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MFish Letter to Hokianga Accord


MFish Letter to the Hokianga Accord

By Stan Crothers

17 March 2006

Hui Report

Appendix Four

 

Received 20th March 2006

Ref: 12/4/3

17 March 2006

Mr Raniera Tau

Chairman

Te Runanga A Iwi O Ngapuhi

PO Box 263

KAIKOHE

Tena koe Sonny

Engagement between the Ministry of Fisheries, iwi Forums and the Hokianga Accord

1. You have asked for a formal response from the Ministry of Fisheries (the Ministry) to the issues raised at the meeting in Auckland on 7 December 2005 between iwi representatives, recreational fishing representatives and Ministry staff. My understanding was that there were three principal issues raised at the meeting on which you sought the Ministry’s views.  These were:
  a) the status of the Hokianga Accord;
  b) that the Ministry initiate an Iwi Forum and MOU with Ngapuhi in the first instance, with other iwi joining later;
  c) that the Ministry should use the iwi and electoral college boundaries in the Maori Fisheries Act 2004 as the basis for establishing Regional Forums.
2.

You also sought clarification of what the Ministry considers to be Terms of Engagement for interactions between Ministry staff and Regional Forums, as well as the funding criteria for meetings between iwi and recreational fishers which the Ministry does not attend. I will answer each of these matters in turn.

The status of the Hokianga Accord
3. I understand that the proposal is that the Hokianga Accord should not be a body in which the Ministry participates. The Hokianga Accord would be legally constituted as a joint body of iwi and amateur fishing representatives to enable those groups to work together on issues of common concern. The Hokianga Accord would not be the vehicle to provide for the input and participation of iwi into fisheries processes. This role would be carried out by way of a Regional Forum. The Regional Forum would not include recreational fishers as parties or signatories, however, recreational representatives could be invited to observe and participate in discussions.
4.

The Ministry agrees with the proposal you have suggested. Iwi and Ministry would develop a Regional Forum with iwi and establish a formal MOU and terms of engagement. The participation of third parties, like the recreational fishers, as invited observers at Forum meetings and as participants in discussions is permissible under the Cabinet guidelines for the development of Crown Maori Relationship Instruments, including MOUs. In our view the most appropriate way to record the involvement of recreational fishers as observers in meetings between Regional Forums and the Ministry would be in supporting documents attached to an MOU between the relevant iwi and the Ministry.

Establishing an Iwi Forum with Ngapuhi
5. The establishment of a Regional Forum with Ngapuhi only presents some difficulties. The Fisheries Act requires the Minister to provide for the input and participation of hapu and iwi in various fisheries processes.  The government has treaty settlement commitments to two hapu groups (Te Roroa and Te Uri O Hau) to enable their governance entities to participate in any Regional Forum being established in the Mid-North. Both have indicated to the government that they are ready to participate in a Forum. Initial meetings between iwi and the Ministry at Whakamaharatanga Marae included representation from Ngati Whatua, Ngati Wai and Te Rarawa. I understand that representatives of Te Rarawa have continued to be regular participants at meetings of the Hokianga Accord.
6.

From the Ministry’s perspective it is important that iwi work together in the Forum’s to enable them to understand each others views and where possible develop common responses to fisheries issues. Iwi in an area will then be able to develop their own management strategies and advocate those strategies into fisheries management processes with the Ministry. This is preferable to the Forums becoming simply a consultation platform between the Ministry and individual iwi, which is the likely result if the relationship is primarily between a single iwi and the Ministry. In our view, renewed efforts should be undertaken to ensure that the iwi in the Mid-North, and the two mentioned hapu groups, are aware of the opportunity to participate in a Forum, and that all those groups be involved in the development of the MOU and Terms of Engagement for that Forum.

Use of Electoral College boundaries to establish Regional Forums
7.

The use of Maori Fisheries Act iwi electoral college’s boundaries as Regional Forum boundaries presents similar problems for the Ministry as those applying the establishment of a Regional Forum with Ngapuhi. The electoral colleges only relate to iwi, not hapu, and in the Mid-North the government has specific treaty settlement obligations to some hapu. In addition, the electoral college areas link iwi with common whakapapa interests and do not necessarily reflect the fish stock boundaries and QMAs that, in our view, are better recognised in the approach taken by the Ministry in seeking to establish regional forums focused on areas of common fishery interest. Finally, the Maori Fisheries Act 2004 sets up Ngapuhi as a separate electoral college because of its population, although its interests in coastal fisheries are inextricably linked to those of other iwi in the North.

8.

The Ministry has been funded by the government to establish Regional Forums to enable hapu and iwi to work together and with the Ministry. One of the purposes of the forums is to address the statutory obligation to recognise and provide for input and participation by hapu and iwi into fisheries sustainability processes. In our view establishing Forums based on electoral college areas would not be consistent with the Minister’s duties to provide for input and participation or the decisions taken by government to fund regional iwi forums on that basis.

Terms of Engagement                                                                                              TOP

9. You have asked for confirmation of what the Ministry means by a Terms of Engagement. In view of the difficulty that has been encountered by both parties in some of the previous meetings with the Hokianga Accord, we think it would be useful to formally set out how iwi and the Ministry will work together at Forum meetings and in the interactions that arise from those meetings. This could be accomplished by Terms of Engagement that would be subsidiary to and support the MOU between the parties.  In our view a terms of engagement could set out:
  a) the process the parties will use to agree on the dates, venue, participants and agenda for meetings to get best value for both parties;
  b) starting times of meetings to recognise the need for the Ministry (and iwi) to bring people from all over the country;
  c) processes for media participation at meetings and media releases from meetings;
  d) procedures for recording of meeting, including confirmation of minutes, video/audio recording and provision of prepared briefing papers and statements;
  e) discussion rules, including the right of both parties to decline discussion and report later on a subject where information or expertise is not available; and
  f) timeframes for providing responses and reports requested by the Forum or by parties to the Forum.
10.

The Ministry is amenable to further discussions with you and the representatives of other Iwi on the development of terms of engagement.

Criteria for funding meetings
11. The government purchase agreement with the Ministry is to provide resources for the input and participation of hapu and iwi into fisheries sustainability processes through Regional Forums. The purchase agreement provides for the Ministry to fund four meetings a year between iwi and the Ministry. In addition, resourcing of the Iwi Forums through extension officers and information sharing is also available. The Hokianga Accord is not a Regional Forum and is therefore not a body that could be funded under the purchase agreement. Similarly, funding iwi to meet among themselves, separate from a meeting with the Ministry, would also appear to be inconsistent with the current purchase agreement between the Minister and the Ministry. In this circumstance the Ministry is not able to fund meetings unless they are between a Regional Forum and the Ministry.
12. I hope this clarifies the Ministry’s view on the matters you have raised.  My staff and I are available to discuss these matters further if you require further information.

 

Noho ora mai

 

GT (Stan) Crothers
Deputy Chief Executive

 

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