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Hui Report Nov 2005

Whakamaharatanga Marae Hui
Page 4

(PDF 450Kb)

A hui to discuss non-commercial fishing interests and Maori customary forums
10 - 11 November 2005

Kaupapa Whakahaere

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

Tom Moana of Tainui and Manny (Tuiringa) Mokomoko of the Bay of Plenty expressed support for the Hokianga Accord and the effort being put into developing the Kaupapa Whakahaere. (Appendix Four)

Along with the feedback from Forum participants MFish had also provided some feedback. Unfortunately the Ministry's feedback only arrived the night before the hui so there had been little time to analyse the feedback and make some informed comment. (Appendix Five)

The Ministry of Fisheries had asked for more time to consider the draft Kaupapa Whakahaere. The feedback from Stan Crothers , on behalf of the CEO, is that MFish do not seem to have any major issues with what is contained in the draft document.

Jonathan Dick, the Extension Services Manager gave an overview of the feedback received from Stan Crothers , to the draft MOU distributed after the last hui. There are six main points that MFish have raised, most of those are directed back to a particular document – Crown Maori Relationship Instrument Policy (CMRI). The feedback continually refers back to that document as the standard or benchmark of how the Crown engages with iwi organisations.  

The feedback from Ministry was strongly supportive of a legally binding document being developed by the Hokianga Accord, as an MOU but the document needs to be consistent with Government policy.

Jonathan read out a couple of statements from MFish's feedback to the draft Kaupapa Whakahaere-

"MFish does not consider its approach to working with tangata whenua and recreational fishers to be segregated. MFish has specific statutory duties to recognise and provide for the input and participation of tangata whenua and to provide mechanisms for the exercise of non-commercial customary fishing activities."

The feedback included reference to a clearer disputes resolution process. The Crown also wanted confirmation on the issue of mandate of those involved in the Hokianga Accord. Fisheries plans were mentioned in respect of the Hokianga Accord forming its own plans encompassing its vision for fisheries management in the area of concern for the Forum.

It appeared the Ministry were introducing new criteria in its feedback to the Forum. No mention of the Government policy had been made previously.

MFish suggested the Accord put together a "short lineout" i.e. A Working Group comprising of a select number of individuals from the Hokianga Accord, to work with the Ministry team to develop how the issues would be addressed.

Carl suggested the reference to and the need to be consistent with the Government's policy was an outcome of a review of MOU's between Crown agencies and others being very different in content and application. This was an opportunity for the Hokianga Accord and the Ministry to work out how to develop the relationship from here on in; it was not about one or the other document being discarded altogether.

The criteria are new elements that have not been presented to the Hokianga Accord on any previous occasion. It was particularly frustrating to receive the feedback the night before the hui, which did not allow time for the Working Group to consider or draft a response to present to the hui. Some felt the Ministry should be told, in no uncertain terms, that the circumstances surrounding the MFish feedback i.e. Its untimely arrival and content, does not constitute "good" consultation with tangata whenua.

The hui was advised that the Government relationship policy being referred to is still in draft form. If this is true, the Ministry were asked what risks are associated with Forums drafting an MOU under a policy that is in draft form and not finalised? Ministry representative, Jonathan Dick did not want to answer that specific question but it does require an answer.

At this point Carl Ross felt it appropriate to give some background on other Forums.

Carl advised the hui that the Ministry felt they had learnt a lot from working with the Bay of Plenty Forum, their MOU has been debated for the past two years. The Pou Hononga are answerable to the Minister of Fisheries so their role in the process is to take the Forum's feedback back to Wellington, give it to the Justice Department, if they are happy with it the document then goes onto Te Puni Kokiri (TPK). Once they have been through the draft it is returned to the Pou Hononga. The Bay of Plenty Forum's process is at the stage now where TPK'S response has been received, both MFish and the Forum have agreed on a document, a Cabinet paper had been drawn up and was awaiting confirmation from Cabinet. It is hoped a more streamlined approach to MOU development will be available soon.

"Legislation is getting passed that they (Cabinet) are going to devolve that [responsibility] down from Cabinet to strictly the Ministry of Justice and TPK."

This hui was clearly frustrated at what was perceived as another hurdle to be overcome before the Hokianga Accord was considered official. The Accord did not want to lose sight of the common goal of "more fish in the water" "Kia maha atu nga ika i roto te wai."


Encouragement was evident for the Working Group to keep working on the draft Kaupapa Whakahaere and incorporate the feedback if and as necessary. It is an unfortunate trait of working with Government departments that most things take time to complete but the outcome needs to be robust so the advice to the hui was to keep working on the draft MOU.

When asked about the Ministry providing for the "input and participation" of tangata whenua even though the MOU had not been finalised, Jodi Mantle responded,

" Even though it's [the MOU] not signed, I don't see any problems with working towards the principles. On my side of things, with my team, yes we are there to help with that input; help with the participation."

The Ministry advised the hui that the Bay of Plenty Forum had received some of its funding, the allocated $20,000 budget, even though their MOU is not signed off.

Aside from the money aspect and the draft status of the MOU, the Minister had already recognised the Hokianga Accord in writing. MFish were asked if tangata whenua could have "input and participation" into Ministry's processes now.

Jodi's response was,

" The difficulty with that aspect, it depends on the proposal. We need to go back to the Ministry and say hey, these guys really want to talk about this, can you come and talk to them."

In regards to Fisheries Plans or an allocation decision,

" Absolutely, so you just need to put that forward and we would need to go back to the Ministry and find out who the person is, particularly if it's a proposal that has already been written, we need to get that person here to listen and have the resources to do that."

Forum Funding

The Ministry is there to provide $20,000 funding to run the Forum hui and pay for such needs as photocopying, koha, meals, and travel.

Carl explained,

"When the Memorandums [of Understanding] are signed, you've got a legal body within your Forum that will accept the responsibility of the administration of that $20,000. It's going to be sent out to the Forum to manage. It's actually going to save me work. So when the Forum's up and running and the Memorandums are done, it's there and I will be able to transfer it."
"The money has been received from Government to run our Forums at $20K. That's sitting in the budget that I run at the moment. It needs to be devolved."


Combining Forums

The Ministry were asked why work was not going into combining all the Forums and pooling the available funds so more could be achieved through a collective effort.

Carl explained the Executive Forum (of the chairman) would be discussing issues of collective interest.

"The budget allocated for each of the forum is $20K. Our office has received forecasted budgets by two of the four forums that exceed the allocated budget. One budget was 700% more than the Government purchase. I have discussed these requests at fisheries management and will be reporting to the respective forums."

It was important to note it was Treasury that made the financial decisions with input from the Minister. Carl pointed that there are others providing financial support to the Hokianga Accord and he uses that point in his promotion of the Hokianga Accord in Wellington. "The Ministry is not a funding agency."  

There are various takiwa with charitable organisation status, or recognised legal bodies that are attached to the Hokianga Accord. The Ministry was asked why the Forum could not use one of these accredited agencies (that already had a MOU with the Government) as a channel through which Ministry could fund the Accord. That way the Forum could concentrate on getting on with the work that needs attention such as fisheries management.

Jodi's response was, "Let's put that to the Ministry and find out."


The Ministry have no authority to provide money to any organisation apart from one that has an MOU specifically detailing what the funds will be used for and who is involved in the organisation accepting the funds. The body has to be a legal entity before any funds would be forthcoming from the state. Any concept of providing the funds via another organisation would amount to using that organisation as a bank account, that would not meet Government's criteria for the allocation of funds.

The Hokianga Accord needs to be aware that if it concentrates all its efforts on the MOU then other matters may not be given the attention required. The Forum should consider a two-layered approach, working on the MOU but not at the expense of "input and participation". The Government needs to be satisfied who it is dealing with in the Forum but the process does not preclude the Hokianga Accord having "input and participation" into Ministry processes now.

There was some discussion about whether the MOU would allow the Crown to discharge its responsibilities to tangata whenua. The $20,000 being offered to Forums could be locking Maori into an arrangement that may not suit some hapu/iwi. The Forum should consider funding itself and just getting on with the important issues that needed to be addressed.

The goodwill of MFish was questioned due to the new criteria that had been revealed in their feedback to the draft MOU. Discussion continued around the issue of money and whether the Ministry would put the funding aside until the Hokianga Accord was ready to receive it, this could take years. The money should not be a hurdle for the Accord to make some headway in fisheries management and other issues that need "input and participation" by tangata whenua.

Ministry advised the hui that the Government allocates funding to be spent within a financial year; if it were not spent it would be reabsorbed into Government funds.

It was suggested that maybe the Hokianga Accord didn't need an MOU with the Ministry and the inherent dangers of the Government discharging its responsibilities to tangata whenua. If the Ministry continued to pay the costs associated with the Forum's hui then why not just leave the arrangement as it stands and get to work on the issues that the Forum could have some influence over?

The hui was discouraged from abandoning work on the MOU. Tainui's advice was to get a win-win out of the situation by having the Government departments working together for the good of the Forum. If the Hokianga Accord continued to concentrate on the funds the bureaucrats would not progress Forum matters. The Waikato Forum's experience had been a wait of over five years for their MOU to be signed off by the Ministry of Fisheries and they didn't want to witness the same process in the north.

The benefits of spending time on planning was valuable if the prospect of working with the Ministry was perceived as being better in the long run for the Forum. If the issues could be worked through then the obvious benefits of a mutual arrangement with MFish is much needed resources, experience and early advice of management issues.

The key was not to overplay the importance of the $20,000, which would not be enough to fund more than just the basics, rather than continue to concentrate on the development of an MOU that would hold the Hokianga Accord and Ministry together well into the future. The Hokianga Accord needed to consider if achieving the goal would be more likely if the Forum continued working with the Ministry. It has to be remembered that the Hokianga Accord is breaking new ground and both the Forum and Ministry have accountability issues that need to be worked through and these tend to take time.

It was agreed the Forum's Working Group would continue work on the draft Kaupapa Whakahaere and the feedback received including the Ministry's. The Working Group or "short lineout" includes Sonny Tau, Scott Macindoe, Stephen Naera, Bruce Galloway and Paul Haddon.

Koha Reupena Tuoro advised the hui that he is now part of the Te Rarawa executive and they are keen to participate in the Hokianga Accord. Koha was talking on behalf of his hapu and other groups interested in the Hokianga Accord's direction.   Sonny mentioned that anyone could attend Hokianga Accord meetings with equal rights to korero. Koha was happy with that.

Sonny Tau, interim chairman of the Hokianga Accord, advised the Forum that a meeting would be arranged as soon as possible with Stan Crothers , deputy MFish CEO. The Working Group would meet Stan to discuss progressing issues of importance including the Ministry's feedback on the draft Kaupapa Whakahaere.




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