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Hui Report Dec 2005


Hui Report
Hokianga Accord Working Group
Page 2

(PDF 90Kb)

 

 

Contents  

Hui focus

Fisheries plans
Crown Maori relationship Statement of intent
Input and participation Fisheries at or above BMSY
Tainui MOU Iwi forums
MFish MOU Alternative model
Fisheries management Conclusion

Hui Focus

Ministry was keen to engage with non-commercial fishers on a number of other issues, in addition to allocation.  

Other relevant issues include TACC settings, planning and spatial management including use of Part IX [of the Fisheries Act] tools.

While allocation is a very important issue there are 25 policy projects underway in Mark's team, some of which would be of significance to all fishing interests including non-commercial fishers such as

allocation in the Oceans context and the Marine Reserves Bill, the role of various biodiversity protection tools and how the interests of fisheries stakeholders are recognised in achieving those biodiversity protection interests.

Fisheries stakeholders, including non-commercial, would be interested in being involved in the process to determine the final form of legislation to achieve those objectives and the process that is used to implement them.   

Crown Maori Relationship

With the Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act 1992 and Fisheries Act 1996 MFish has obligations to tangata whenua but there seems to be some inconsistencies. The nature of the relationship is already established and formalising the relationship with iwi should be a fairly simple process.

Sonny had mentioned previously that Ngapuhi had never been asked to have "input and participation" into sustainability measures or MFish processes since the introduction of the Quota Management System (QMS) in 1986. Now was a good time to start providing for that statutory obligation.

Ministry agreed with this assessment and advised that the Crown Maori Relationship Instrument (CMRI) framework that they work with is generic across Government departments, across a range of issues. MFish are willing to discuss tangata whenua's concerns about the particular MOU provided by Ministry if that was required.

Input and Participation

Considering the five year development process of the MOU between MFish and Tainui it was a concern that Ministry would focus the effort of both MFish and tangata whenua on the MOU for the Hokianga Accord and divert attention away from the Minister's existing obligations under section 12 of the Fisheries Act 1996. Section 12 specifies the Minister has to provide for the "input and participation" of tangata whenua having a non-commercial interest in the stock or an interest in the effects of fishing on the aquatic environment in the area concerned.

Ministry agreed that the obligation on the Minister to provide for the "input and participation" of tangata whenua into sustainability measures was "black and white" in the Act. For other fisheries management processes Mark Edwards made the comment that MFish and tangata whenua would probably not agree, at this stage, what that meant.

MFish consider there needs to be a lot of discussion to determine how and what process is used to provide for the section 12 obligations, within their available resources. The needs of tangata whenua would be different for a sustainability measure for a shellfish bed decision compared to the requirements of being involved in developing the Oceans policy.

Ministry were asked to clarify their definition of "tangata whenua having a non-commercial interest" as referred to in section 12 (1) (b) of the Fisheries Act 1996. Mark's reply was, " our understanding, and it hinges around the customary regulations, is the non-commercial interest would be where they wish to take seafood for use and consumption that is not for the purposes of pecuniary gain or trade."   The Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act specifically provides for tangata whenua's non-commercial customary interest. Maori recreational fishing interests are catered for within the Fisheries Act 1996 section 21.

MFish pointed out that the Forums could address other interests such as recreational, commercial and environmental interests.

Tainui MOU

Tainui representative Tom Moana made the trip from Ngaruwahia to support Sonny, Ngapuhi and the other northern iwi involved in the Hokianga Accord.

He raised the issue of their MOU that had been underway with MFish for over five years.

Being a document of only one and half pages he struggled to understand the delay in addressing the outstanding issues. His main point was to encourage MFish to talk with iwi first and foremost before consulting with Te Ohu Kai Moana (TOKM) on matters that affect Maori non-commercial fishing interests. TOKM certainly do not speak for iwi on non-commercial fisheries matters.

MFish MOU

The day before the hui the Ministry had sent through a paper titled 'Parameters for Ministry of Fisheries Engagement on Terms of Reference and Memorandum of Understanding with the Hokianga Accord' (Appendix One).

The Hokianga Accord Working Group had not had time to consider this paper in any detail so asked the Ministry representatives to work through the paper, section by section and explain their logic.

The Ministry explained the constraints placed on them by legislation and Government policy. MFish were adamant they have always recognised most fishing by Maori is done under the amateur fishing regulations but have not specifically stated this fact.

MFish gave a list of items that could be included in the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the parties to the Hokianga Accord. Ministry do not see themselves as a signatory to the Hokianga Accord. The MOU is a more general document that covers the relationship between the Forum and Ministry. The Crown Maori Relationship Instrument was also discussed in the MFish paper.

In the paper the Ministry commented on specific sections from the draft Kaupapa Whakahaere developed by the Hokianga Accord.

Ministry envisage involving the Forum in the development of fisheries management proposal documents before they are written and sent out to stakeholders for input in order to meet their obligation to provide for the "input and participation" of tangata whenua.

Fisheries Management

MFish have four sustainability processes per annum and they are currently considering the April 2006 sustainability round. MFish determine what resources they have available and work out a priority list to assist them in deciding what fisheries should be reviewed. Ministry plan to consult with the regional Forums to determine what their priorities are for each round and give tangata whenua the opportunity to have input at that stage.

MFish are looking to improve their consultation processes to take into account the needs of Maori. Ideally this would include early notice of proposals to allow for Maori to gather the mandate, participate and get involved in the research planning process. Ministry are developing a monthly bulletin to advise the Forums of upcoming issues.

Fisheries Plans

Fisheries Plans are viewed by Ministry as the long term solution to the reactive style process currently operating where submissions are written in response to MFish proposals.

On consultation with other non-commercial fishing interests the Minister said last year that he wanted to establish a national advisory body to advise him on strategic issues.

Mark went on to explain, " that is focused on allocation. The whole reason why the Minister wanted to develop a high level relationship with that other non-commercial sector was to progress this allocation issue. That is what is at the heart of the strategic issues that we need to address. We know how critical it is to that sector. But he also needed another way to engage with recreational fishers that have much more local, regional interest in fisheries and engage in existing statutory process. They fulfil a different statutory obligation than what we are trying to achieve through the iwi regional Forums".

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Statement of Intent

The draft MFish Statement of Intent is due to be released before or not long after Xmas. This document would be presented to the next Forum hui for discussion and input. MFish were asked when tangata whenua would be provided their opportunity to have "input and participation" into this process. Terry Lynch responded, " we need to be quite clear about the legal duty of what "input and participation" is, it is only matters to do with sustainability of fisheries. It's not to do with the other business activities of the Ministry".  

Fisheries At or Above BMSY

Ministry are not clear where the current Minister stands on David Benson-Pope's July announcement about managing fisheries of importance above Bmsy or significantly above Bmsy [1] . MFish are waiting to see if Jim Anderton will endorse several of Mr Benson-Pope's policy statements. In the meantime section 13 of the Fisheries Act provides for the management of fisheries at or above a level that can produce the Maximum Sustainable Yield.

Iwi Forums

Original MFish plans were for two meetings in the first year of a Forum's existence, four and six meetings for the second and third years respectively. Ministry also expected the attendance of only five staff per Forum meeting.

The Ministry have been "over delivering" to the four Forums established to date and also recognise that four meetings in the first year is more realistic.

The $20,000 MFish funding only provides for hui costs and some transport costs for tangata whenua to attend the meeting. The $20,000 is ongoing funding.

Ministry do not envisage providing funding to Forums to engage independent advice on fisheries management matters. MFish have offered the Extension Service Officers as assistants for developing Fisheries Plans and attending to other issues of importance to the Forum.

According to the Forum's definition of section 12 (1) (b) of the Fisheries Act all sustainability measures approved by the Minister since the passing of the 1996 Act is illegal because for eight years the Minister has failed to "provide for the input and participation of tangata whenua". Therefore those processes are illegitimate.  

There was plenty of discussion about who would be involved in the Hokianga Accord. The Ministry were advised that the only formal parties to the Forum would be tangata whenua. The involvement of other non-commercial recreational fishing interests was irrelevant to MFish. Ministry were concerned that their obligation was to tangata whenua according to the CMRI policy.

Alternative Model

The four regional iwi Forums in existence have been established using the MFish model managed by the Customary Relationship Unit (Te Tari o te Kahui Pou Hononga).

An alternative relationship model was presented to the Ministry for their consideration and feedback. (Appendix Two).

The draft alternative has iwi as the focal point of contact with MFish.

Other iwi including Te Rarawa, Ngati Wai and Ngati Whatua are yet to decide their position on being parties to the Hokianga Accord and could conceivably fit into this alternative model, with their own formal arrangement with the Ministry.

MFish expressed some favourable feedback on the model's ability to provide a formal relationship
with a mandated body, but they would have some reservations about signing an MOU with each iwi.

They would be looking to have an agreement with a collective of iwi.

Mark Edwards reminded the hui that they have existing relationships with other fishing interests and

could possibly have more connections between MFish and parties to the Hokianga Accord than was depicted in thealternative model. The hui accepted this.

Mark advised that they would need to talk with others in Wellington including Te Puni Kokiri ( TPK) about the alternative model and provide some feedback.

Sonny then spoke about the Electoral College established under the Maori Fisheries Act 2004 as perhaps a model to look at when considering clusters of iwi to engage in formal MOU with the Ministry. Ngapuhi, as the overwhelmingly largest iwi in the country, stood on its own by virtue of its huge population. Other recognised iwi throughout the north were clustered together under one umbrella and population wise, did not match Ngapuhi's numbers, even combined. It was therefore proposed that this model be investigated by the Ministry for its suitability.

Conclusion

Both MFish and the Hokianga Accord Working Group agreed the allocation of fisheries resources is the primary issue that needs to be addressed. The Working Group does not believe non-commercial fishing interests would be served well if the Hokianga Accord diverted its attention and resources into developing fisheries plans or local management regimes.

The Intersectorial Allocation Policy being developed by the Ministry and the ensuing process would need to be monitored and have meaningful input from the Forum.

MFish and the Working Group agreed to give due consideration to the discussions held during the day in relation to the MFish MOU explanation and the Accord's draft Kaupapa Whakahaere.

Clarification of tangata whenua's 'non-commercial interest', as specified in the Fisheries Act section 12 (1) (b) is still required. MFish's understanding is it "hinges" on the customary regulations. The Working Group has some doubts whether it only refers to customary fishing and could extend beyond this to include recreational fishing and other interests.  

The opportunity to receive and respond to MFish's priority list of sustainability measures was welcomed. The Forum look forward to receiving the Ministry's monthly bulletin advising of upcoming management issues.

The Draft 2006/07 Statement of Intent due to be released around Christmas will need to be reviewed and ideally the Forum would provide some feedback to MFish within the three month consultation period.

Interest is high amongst Hokianga Accord participants on whether Jim Anderton would endorse the previous fisheries Minister's policy of managing important recreational fisheries above or significantly above Bmsy. If endorsed, how the policy is given effect would need to be monitored and commented on.

Ministry committed to providing some feedback on the alternative relationship model presented during the hui. No timeframe was mentioned but the Forum would expect some feedback before or at the next hui of the Hokianga Accord.

The next full Forum meeting is due for early March 2006, date to be confirmed.

 

[1] " That species important to recreational fishers should be managed above, or even significantly above, what fisheries documents refer to as BMSY – the size of a fish stock that delivers the maximum sustainable yield." David Benson-Pope, 8 July 2005 - NZ Rec Fishing Council AGM and Conference.

 

                                                      

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