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Hui Report April 2006

Hokianga Accord Hui Report

Whitiora Marae

15 May 2006
Page 8

(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


Kahawai Legal Challenge
Doubtless Bay Marine Protection
Ngapuhitanga Festival 2006
Income & Expenditure Report
Shared Fisheries & Fisheries Plans - Accord View  

Kahawai Legal Challenge

Jeff Romeril, President, New Zealand Big Game Fishing Council

The High Court hearing of the Kahawai Legal Challenge has been set down for June 6th this year and is expected to take four days to complete.

The hearing is to hear the claim from the NZ Big Game Fishing Council and the NZ Recreational Fishing Council, which Ngapuhi has supported with a very powerful affidavit. It would also hear the counterclaim recently issued by commercial interests namely Sanford Ltd, Sealord Group Ltd and Pelagic and Tuna Ltd. The Minister and Ministry of Fisheries are first and second defendants respectively.

While kahawai is the subject of the proceedings it is expected that the case would have far-reaching implications for the allocation of all inshore shared fisheries.

Key Issues

The key legal issues to be determined are:

  1. Setting initial Total Allowable Catches (TAC’s).
  2. Allowing for non-commercial and recreational fishing interests
  3. KAH1: The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act 2000
  4. Information principles.


In December 2005 a timetable was set for the process leading up to the June court date. While the legal team agreed to the timetable it was up to all the parties involved in the case to comply. The commercial fishers had been slow in supplying their evidence. This could be interpreted as a delaying tactic to force the postponement of the June 6th hearing date. However, the councils involved are determined the delays would not be used to defer the judicial review. At the time of the hui the legal team considered the delays were not at a point that would compromise the hearing date.

April 21st was set as the last day the recreational sector had to respond to the counter claims by commercial interests and the Minister/Ministry. Obviously that commitment would not be met due to the lack of complete evidence from commercial interests and no evidence from the Minister/Ministry.

The recreational councils believe the case is very strong and are confident in the evidence gathered to date, and the ability of the legal team to focus on the main issues and not be distracted by efforts to widen the case and divert attention away from the core issues.


Jeff explained that the claim seeks to obtain clear rulings from the High Court that non-commercial fishing interests are not limited to estimates of existing catch or some fixed proportion of total catch.  The announcement of the Shared Fisheries Policy project made it important that non-commercial fishers obtain rulings that would be helpful to future policy development and future fisheries management decisions.

The real question needs to be asked of the Ministry and Minister as to why they were proceeding with the Shared Fisheries Policy allocation process before a determination had been given from the court on the meaning of section 21 of the Fisheries Act.


Doubtless Bay Marine Protection

John Kenderdine, Doubtless Bay Marine Protection Group

John had been based in Doubtless Bay, Northland since 1994. Around four years ago concerns were raised about the state of the Doubtless Bay marine environment. A meeting was arranged and over 100 people attended. The high turnout was later attributed to the perception the organisers were planning a marine reserve in Doubtless Bay. The group had no intention of doing that and accept they have no mandate to create a marine reserve.

Talks had continued with Ngati Kahu and a small group had been working on a management plan for the Bay. The group has a clear understanding that the outcome would be what iwi and the local community want, not what the group wants. Without community support no protection measures would work, irrespective if it is an initiative by Maori or non-Maori.

While there were some people in the group, including John, who believed marine reserves were a good protection tool “one of the things we have promoted right from the start is mataitai. We are very strong supporters of that as being the ultimate, overarching tool for marine management right around the coast of New Zealand and we support that 100%”.

The Challenge

Information and education are the challenge and the Hokianga Accord were doing a great job in bringing all interested parties together to discuss marine issues.

A draft document had been produced, the ‘Doubtless Bay Marine Protection Group Discussion Document on Community Marine Management’. The document had taken years to produce and still needed improvement. Work was continuing to reduce the document to a ten-page booklet that would be distributed throughout the community for feedback.

In conjunction with the draft document the group had referenced to another document, the ‘Intertidal and Sub-tidal Habitats of Doubtless Bay’ including maps of the marine environment of the Bay.

As with most community groups, resourcing was an issue. The group was currently investigating the prospect of establishing an official entity such as an incorporated society. They may consider a charitable trust after listening to the earlier presentation on charitable bodies. 

Another challenge is to get the Ministry of Fisheries to engage in assisting with the implementation of mataitai. Proof of their failure to assist local communities was evidenced in the existence of only two mataitai around the whole country, Moremore A and B in Napier and Raukokore on the East Cape.

During discussion following the presentation it was pointed out that the political will seemed to support the establishment of marine reserves over other protection measures, including customary tools. The Department of Conservation’s focus on the outdated Marine Reserves Act (1971) had led to the imposition of marine reserves on local communities with little regard for concerns raised. This had caused unnecessary animosity throughout the country.

It was suggested to the hui that a meeting should be organised with Parekura Horomia to discuss the difficulties being encountered with the establishment of mataitai and other issues of importance to tangata whenua. As the Minister of Maori Affairs and Associate Minister of Fisheries it would be worth the effort to meet with him and try and enlist his support.


Ngapuhitanga Festival 2006

Scott Macindoe, option4

Stephen Naera offered his apologies for not being at the hui to present the Festival update. Stephen attended the Anniversary weekend event as a representative of the Hokianga Accord. Naida Glavish and Scott Macindoe also participated as representatives of the Hokianga Accord and the Kahawai Legal Challenge team. This was the Kahawai Legal Challenge team’s second annual attendance at the Festival.

The impact of Pakeha standing in amongst tangata whenua supporting the kaupapa of “more fish in the water” was outstanding. The korero was invigorating, the event exciting and the opportunity to meet and talk with so many people was worth the effort. There were many highlights and plenty of support for the Accord and the Legal Challenge. Naida’s guidance throughout the event proved invaluable, coupled with her customary humour and no-nonsense approach, the event was a success. 


Income and Expenditure Report

Scott Macindoe, option4

Ngapuhi had given substantial financial support to the Hokianga Accord. In addition they had allowed their chairman and board to be available to the Accord. It was hard to calculate the value of having Sonny Tau, Judah Heihei, Paul Haddon, Joe Bristowe and Ruby Winikerei totally committed to the kaupapa of the Accord. It was a huge investment on Ngapuhi’s part, to the Forum.

option4 had also invested heavily in the Hokianga Accord. The support was unconditional and option4 were not looking for reimbursement from the Accord. Invoices had been amassed for around $35,500. The investigation of the future structure of the charitable entity capable of accepting donations was an important aspect in the development of the Hokianga Accord.

Work completed by Trish Rea taking responsibility for reporting and coordination had been charged to the Accord.

option4 operated with contractors who delivered consistent and reliable outcomes, with recommendations. The website www.option4.co.nz is the repository for the information that had been gathered; over 7000 pages were already online with more to come.

Printing was another major cost but was necessary to get information out to the public. Without public awareness the objectives of the Hokianga Accord would not be achieved. option4 would continue to carry this cost but ultimately the costs would need to be shared by the Hokianga Accord. Ministry must also be acknowledged for their contribution to the production of reports of the Hokianga Accord hui to date.


Shared Fisheries & Fisheries Plans - Accord View

If it could be proven that commercial fishers had depleted the fisheries to an extent that it was having an affect on non-commercial fishers ability to feed their whanau then non-commercial fishers should not be asked, or expected, to prop up those unsustainable catches.

In those circumstances any cuts that needed to be made should be taken from the commercial quota.

Prior to the introduction of the Quota Management System (QMS) commercial fishing was virtually unconstrained.

The massive removals of fish had an adverse impact on non-commercial fishers’ ability to catch a fish, as there were less fish in the water to be caught. Meanwhile commercial fishers maintained their catch through increasing their fishing time or using more efficient methods, such as trawlers and nets.

At the introduction of the QMS the people most affected by were the part time fishermen, many of who were Maori, and their local communities. They were pushed out of fishing as the QMS came in, with no compensation. It is was the larger companies such as Sanford Ltd that benefited from that action and they now hold the controlling interest in many important shared fisheries.

Many of the depleted fisheries had not rebuilt despite twenty years of the QMS.

Moyle’s Promise was considered adequate to protect non-commercial fishing interests during the introduction of the Quota Management System.

Moyle’s Promise—

“Government’s position is clear, where a species of fish is not sufficiently abundant to support both commercial and non-commercial fishing, preference will be given to non-commercial fishing.”

This was clear recognition by the Government that commercial fishing rights were more powerful and could adversely affect non-commercial fishing. There was ample evidence that commercial fishers had caused the depletion in many of our inshore shared fisheries.

Now it seemed the Ministry wanted to take away that protection, by ignoring Moyle’s Promise, and wanted to introduce a proportional allocation system that would deprive non-commercial fishermen the opportunities that had been promised.

The Hokianga Accord needed to consider very carefully what it wanted to replace Moyle’s Promise with during the Shared Fisheries Policy process. Non-commercial fishermen could conceivably be worse off after the process to change legislation is completed.


Section 28N Rights

Apart from excessive commercial fishing another impediment to rebuilding shared fisheries were section 28N rights. These rights were given to some commercial fishers at the outset of the Quota Management System.

In lieu of accepting compensation to forego catch history, commercial fishers could take these rights and have them restored in the future as quota, if the TACC for that stock increased. If the fishery rebuilt the first to enjoy a gain would be the holders of these rights.

In the case of Snapper 8 there were around 900 tonnes of outstanding 28N rights. It is believed that Sanford Ltd hold the majority of these rights, so they would get a quota increase before any other commercial entity. Additionally, over 500 tonnes of 28N rights existed in Snapper 1.

These section 28N rights taint Maori fisheries quota. Even if Maori quota holders decided to conserve in a fishery such as Snapper 8, it was unlikely there would be any gain once a rebuild occurred as the first quota increase would go to the companies holding these rights. This reinforced the belief that there are no incentives for commercial or non-commercial fishers to conserve, under the current regime.


Single sector fisheries plans offered some hope to both commercial and non-commercial fishers who wanted to conserve. Plans could be devised that reduced wastage and juvenile mortality. In recognition of their conservation effort commercial fishers could be given quota to harvest more fish due to the increased yield, the fishery would be rebuild and section 28N rights would not be applicable.

There was also the remote possibility that the Government would buy back section 28N rights from the companies that held them, to provide an incentive to conserve and rebuild shared fisheries.

Tangata whenua had to consider their multiple interests in fisheries. Any plan to reduce commercial harvest for the purposes of sustainability needed to be made in conjunction with other iwi that had an interest in the same stock. Snapper 8 involves all the west coast iwi from Wellington to North Cape. Maori needed to make sure that any agreed plan would not disadvantage them, as any cuts to commercial, customary or recreational limits would affect them the most.

Sonny clarified to the hui the Ngapuhi stance, “we have been told by our people when we asked the question, do we sell our fish for crayfish bait in Australia and onto the tables of Chinese and Japanese [people] or do we look to feeding our tamariki and mokopuna first? The answer is clear. We feed our babies first. That tells me, whatever it takes for the fisheries to recover our commercial arm will take the beating”.

Tangata whenua would have to give more consideration to the Shared Fisheries Policy and Fisheries Plans process to understand the issues, implications, risks and benefits. There was a need for more korero and hui before the Forum could give an official view to the Ministry.

General Discussion

A suggestion was put to the hui to consider recreational fishing reserves that excluded commercial fishing, as a solution to spatial separation of commercial and non-commercial fishers and to enhance recreational catch. A similar concept to a mataitai, but ‘recreational fishing reserve’ maybe more acceptable terminology to the public. Mataitai could easily be interpreted as benefiting Maori only. With the extinguishment of section 86 of the Fisheries Act the only way a reserve of this nature could be implemented was through an initiative from tangata whenua.

Without funding to pay for research it was difficult for tangata whenua to have the basis for implementing management measures such as mataitai or taiapure, which would protect a particular area.

Questions were also raised whether opportunities existed for Maori in developing aquaculture to supplement any cuts to commercial fishing quota.

Another suggestion was moana poitu, water that is left untouched for a period of time. The concept differed from a rahui as section 186A closures only applied to a specific species, a set area and had management regimes associated with that. Moana poitu is not contained within the Fisheries Act but was a measure Te Rarawa had used historically.

The Hokianga Accord should pursue the Ministry to manage important shared fisheries above or significantly above Bmsy. The likely outcome of this management strategy would be improved catch rates and better-sized fish available to be caught.

A direct approach to the Minister should be considered, to explain the Hokianga Accord’s issues and objective of “more fish in the water”. It was likely the Minister was not aware nor understood the approach the Forum was taking to address non-commercial fishing concerns. The Minister had previously indicated he would welcome reports from the Hokianga Accord being given directly to him, via the Pou Hononga Graeme Morrell.

The question was put to the Pakeha hui participants whether they supported Ngapuhi’s negotiations with the Crown regarding the debate over the differences between the Treaty of Waitangi and what was agreed to under Te Tiriti O Waitangi. The majority of tauiwi present did not have a good enough understanding of the differences to make an informed comment.

It was suggested that this topic be covered at the next hui so people had a basic understanding of the process that both Ngapuhi and Ngati Wai were currently involved in with the Crown.


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