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Hui Report April 2006

Hokianga Accord Hui Report

Whitiora Marae

15 May 2006
Page 5

(PDF 640Kb)

A hui to provide for the input and participation of tangata whenua having a non-commercial interest in fisheries, an interest in the effects of fishing on the aquatic environment and having particular regard to kaitiakitanga.

6 - 7 April 2006

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Question and Answer Session  
Whitiora Hui May 2005

Question and Answer Session

The following are statements made during the hui and also direct transcripts of the questions and answers put to the Ministry, including their response.

Sonny Tau, Ngapuhi



“Why haven’t you [the Ministry] spoken to us about this [Shared Fisheries Policy]? This is the first we have heard about it. Why haven’t iwi been involved in this round of talks?”
Tangata whenua representatives including Ngapuhi, Ngati Wai and Ngati Whatua confirmed they had not been approached about this project.

Mark Edwards, Ministry of Fisheries
“Because of the nature of the process and the timeframes we are trying to meet to have legislation enacted by 2008, which is the goal the Minister wants us to work to, this initial stage of the process of talking with people about issues and options is taking place and started in February and it’s still going now. This happens to be the first time within that timeframe we’ve had the Forum.”
From Tom Moana, Tainui
“Why is the Ministry not working on a meaningful shared fishery like Snapper 8 when developing “proof of concept” fisheries plans, when at the same time you are working on the Shared Fisheries Allocation project?”
Jonathan Peacey, MFish 

“We have to learn to walk before we run. We picked three fisheries that were relatively straightforward, Southern Blue Whiting, Foveaux Strait Oyster fishery and Coromandel Scallop fishery. They are all probably smaller than what in the longer term we want to deal with, and they are relatively simple.

“We have a limited timeframe and this is a learning experience, we are trying to learn from it. So, we look forward to working on snapper 8 once we have got a few of the skills that these fisheries come across. Two out of the three fisheries we are talking about are shared fisheries. The Foveaux Strait oyster fishery and Coromandel scallops, they may be relatively simple but the different stakeholders are working together on them.”

Scott Macindoe, option4

“We don’t accept that answer as the Shared Fisheries Policy Development paper given to the Minister in December 2005 clearly identifies Fisheries Plans as the mechanism that will be used to address issues in shared fisheries.

“We Pakeha have been accused of getting in the way of customary forums. There is a great deal of suspicion within Maoridom of what our motivations are for being in a relationship with tangata whenua. We have nothing but respect for, and a growing understanding and awareness of the urgency for gazetting rohe moana and appointment of kaitiaki.

“What we are acutely conscious of is the fact that this Shared Fisheries allocation process is the war. And it’s now. And it’s finite. We will either win it or lose it. This most fundamental cutting of the cake between commercial and non-commercial interests is now. Our fear is that tangata whenua will wake up after the cut have occurred, having spent that time buried in customary spaces talking about customary things.

“So it’s here and now, there is no question about the urgency.”


In order to ensure the hui clearly understood what the current debate was about Sonny briefly explained the Quota Management System (QMS).

The QMS was introduced to control commercial overfishing that had devastated fish stocks. As the stocks reduced commercial fishers started to focus on Maori customary and recreational harvest.

Sonny described proportional share, “Instead of the fella that did all the damage fixing it up and him losing his lot, they have gone and jumped over the fence and said we will make these Maori and recreational fishers pay equally. In layman’s terms commercial [fishers] had caused the depletion. They introduced the QMS to curb that.”

“It’s just like a fella robbing a bank. The other fellas that had nothing to do with it have to help to put the money back in the bank. That’s why I am so passionate about our ability to feed our children.”


 Vern Tonks, Guardians of Mimiwhangata

“We should be fishing here for our whanau, for the kaupapa, that’s what its all about. Government is supposed to listen to us. So, kaitiakitanga is what is needed. The Hokianga Accord and other accords right throughout New Zealand need to go back to the Ministry and tell them this is what is needed.”

Jeff Romeril, President of the New Zealand Big Game Fishing Council

“How deeply ingrained is the proportional allocation doctrine within the Ministry? When did the Ministry adopt that doctrine and was there any consultation about it with the public?”

Mark Edwards, MFish

“There were a number of elements in Paul’s presentation that misrepresented the situation and I disagree with but we can’t take the time to discuss all of those points, as it was quite a long presentation.

“If you listened to what I said at the beginning of the presentation about where the shared fisheries project is at, [I] didn’t mention proportionality once. I talked at a much higher level about how we design a system that deals with allocation under the TAC, spatial management situations, deals with the biomass levels at which we manage stocks and the relative benefit that gives to different sectors.

“Issues that this reform process is not based on proportionality. We are not promoting and I strongly suspect that Robin [Connor] has been misquoted. That’s not the situation we are in, we have a much more open agenda in this reform process in considering the options.

“There is one other point in Paul’s presentation I needed to respond to because it is not correct. I thought there had been some interchange on this, maybe I am wrong, but the idea that John and Stan had undertaken to do an intensive twenty-year stocktake, I happen to know that is something they have not agreed to. It is definitely not the case.

“In regards to Scott’s comments, the Ministry are looking to have a more certain allocation process. Currently there is huge uncertainty and all stakeholders seem to agree on that point. The Ministry acknowledge there are finer scale spatial management issues that are not being addressed through the current system, they are hoping this new process will identify was these issues can be addressed.

“The third and most major issue is, where do you set the TAC? We have section 13 [of the Fisheries Act 1996]. It is not, we would suggest, a good enough tool to allow the range of biomass levels that people want to manage fisheries at to achieve different objectives.

“All of those three reasons are reasons why we need this reform project, hopefully to be concluded, before we can really make a lot of progress in shared fisheries.”

John Chibnall, Bay of Islands NZBGFC representative
“What benefits can non-commercial fishers expect from this Shared Fisheries Policy Development process?”
Mark Edwards, MFish
“I am a bit caught here, of course I could talk more specifically because the Ministry of Fisheries isn’t without ideas on how to resolve some of these issues but that’s not the point of our talk here today. And it’s something that concerns me quite a bit about the discussion today. We came here to hear the views of the iwi and hapu of the mid-north about what they saw as the issues, what they saw as the options and I haven’t heard too much of that.”
Mark explained the objectives of the Shared Fisheries Policy project as:
Increase certainty in processes to set, adjust, and manage the allocation of the TAC to each sector;
Ensure trade offs made between the values of different sectors are transparent and add overall value to the fishery; and

Give each sector opportunities and incentives to invest in enhancing the value of their share of the fishery.

Paul Haddon, Ngapuhi

Paul expressed the frustration of many at the hui when he asked why the Ministry had not consulted with Ngapuhi previously on the Shared Fisheries Policy, particularly considering Ngapuhi’s interests in both commercial and non-commercial fishing. He did not believe the Ministry had been listening to the messages that Ngapuhi and the Hokianga Accord had clearly articulated since last year.

Mark Edwards, MFish

Mark assured the Hokianga Accord that this was not the only opportunity for the Accord or Ngapuhi to have input into the Shared Fisheries Policy project. The Ministry viewed the Hokianga Accord as the vehicle for MFish to talk with Ngapuhi and hapu from the mid-north in the process. “This is very early days in the development of the policy and Ngapuhi and the Accord were welcome to have input at any stage.”

Fiona Reihana Ruka, Ngapuhi

Fiona was at the hui to represent her non-commercial fishing whanau from Taheke, Hokianga. She and her whanau used to make regular trips to surfcast from Waimamaku beach. Over the past five years their catch had been reduced from around two dozen fish to one or two fish for a whole weekend’s fishing effort.

“What I am interested in, it appears that we are being asked to compromise our fishing by limiting us in favour of commercial fishing to enable them to catch more fish.” 

“My question to you is, if you are making this proposal surely you have thought about it before you get input from us, how you are going to enforce, police and monitor this limitation on non-commercial fishing?”

Mark Edwards, MFish

Mark’s response initially focussed on customary fishing. When advised by both Fiona and Sonny that she was referring to non-commercial ‘recreational’ fishing, fishing for food, Mark went on to discuss depletion and access for recreational and customary fishers. After some time Mark was asked to clarify whether he was answering Fiona’s question.

“As I have tried to explain earlier, the Ministry is in the business of fisheries management. We’ve got lots of ideas of different approaches that you could use to improve the situation in respect of shared fisheries and adjust the legislative framework. But it’s not the purpose of this meeting; we are not at that point at the moment deliberately, because to propose our ideas and solutions is inappropriate at this stage. We have tried to hear what other people’s issues are. There is plenty of time for us to put our ideas down.”

Tepania Kingi, Ngati Whatua

When compared to the global market our fish exports made very little contribution.  Tepania suggested it was in the region of 0.5 to 1% of total global fisheries exports. With that in mind it seemed a better proposition to have New Zealand’s fisheries supply local needs before export orders are filled.

In reference to Mark’s point about Ministry wanting to speak with both iwi and hapu about the Shared Fisheries Policy project, Tepania assured the Ministry team that they would need to consult with the Ngati Whatua iwi. If Ministry tried to deal with hapu alone they would be referred back to the iwi.

The ability of the hui to discuss details of the Ministry project was limited. Tepania suggested the ‘short line-out’ be tasked with dealing with the intricacies of the Ministry’s proposal and formulating a response on behalf of the Hokianga Accord.

Paul Batten, Northern Regional Recreational Fishers Forum
“Last year in July, in Wellington, the then Minister of Fisheries, Mr. Benson-Pope, made a new policy statement, of managing shared fisheries above or for important shared fisheries, significantly above Bmsy. What is the status of this new policy? Is it still current? Is it going to be used for important shared fisheries?”
Mark Edwards, MFish

“It’s actually not an easy question to answer. You should be directing it to the Minister rather than the Ministry because you are talking about political party policy. But I believe it is written into Labour Party policy and therefore is their intent. However, as I explained before, being careful with my words, the ability to do that within the current Act framework, specifically section 13, is constrained. If you want to fully provide for that opportunity we suggest the legislation needs to be amended.”

Bruce Galloway, Guardians of Mimiwhangata

“What specific sustainability measures can be taken to rebuild the fisheries in a particular area like the Hokianga Harbour? Larger mesh sizes, different trawler processes, and what constraints are there on the Ministry for introducing such measures immediately?”

Mark Edwards, MFish

“In terms of the toolbox that’s theoretically available, there are wide regulatory powers to introduce all sorts of measures and controls if that were to be the desired outcome. However, Paul is right in the way that he inferred that the Ministry has reservations about that.

“The concern that we have is that if we start introducing a suite of input controls that we will badly interfere with the best way the industry has to harvest fish. That’s not to say we are not concerned about juvenile fish mortality and the implications of that for sustainability and the fact that mortality needs to be sheeted home to those who cause that mortality.

“The incentives are wrong. What we want to do is change the incentives so that they [commercial fishers] either avoid incidental mortality of juvenile fish or it counts against their entitlement so that they’ve got incentives to change their fishing practices. So that is a way we think we can deal with the circumstances that you are talking about, at least in part, certainly not all of it.”

Larry Baldock, United Future Party
“Do you accept that the real pressure on the Ministry for the proportional allocation model is coming from the commercial sector, because it clearly isn’t coming from this [non-commercial] sector? In our opinion, it is the commercial sector that is driving this, would you confirm that’s where it comes from?”
Mark Edwards, MFish
“Is the main pressure on us to consider proportionality from the commercial industry? I think you need to ask that question of the commercial industry. But there’s not much secret that their key concern, and its been in their submissions for more than a decade, and they took the Ministry to court over it in respect of snapper 1, is that they are concerned about what it termed ‘reallocation between sectors’.”
Larry Baldock, United Future Party
“And would you confirm today that it is off the table, which I think you said earlier? Would you repeat it again, that this current consultation round is not a means by just getting a variation of the proportional model into legislation?”
Mark Edwards, MFish

“In terms of proportionality, the options that are being considered, at this stage of the process, is that the Ministry is definitely not promoting proportionality as some sort of ‘be all and end all’, the only option that we are considering. We are clearly, in our document, setting out, signalling, the willingness to consider, a wider range of options to address allocation of the TAC and spatial management tools and capacity among other things.”

Larry Baldock, United Future Party
“It was Labour Party policy to manage shared fisheries above or significantly above Bmsy, and they have become the Government, we would assume they have given some instructions to the Ministry in regards to their policy. Have you [the Ministry] had instructions that that is where you are now heading? In which case we will all be really thrilled that they are going to keep their promise. If you have had no instructions then you are right, we will need to ask the Minister but we would have assumed he would have said something to you.”
Mark Edwards, MFish
“In terms of the answer to your last question, in a point in fact, as far as Jonathan and I know, we [the Ministry] have not received an explicit instruction recently on this.”

Himiona Munroe, Trust Board member, Ngati Wai

Ngati Wai has the largest percentage of marine reserves/protected areas within their rohe compared to anywhere else in the country. Ngati Wai object to the extinguishment of their customary rights within those areas. It now seemed that they were being asked to share their fish as well. MFish were left in no doubt that Ngati Wai would not hesitate to take the Minister of Fisheries to court to protect their access to fish.


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