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Hui Report Aug 2005


 

Report

Whakamaharatanga Marae Hui

Page 2

A hui to discuss non-commercial fishing interests and Maori customary forums

29-30 August 2005

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Contents  
Essentials for progress Representation
Role of the forum Term of reference and MOU
Extension officers  

Essentials for Progress

Legislation allows for the involvement of both hapu and iwi in the customary forums. Ngapuhi is keen for Te Rarawa, Ngati Wai and Ngati Whatua to be included in the Hokianga Accord. Agreement has already been reached that non-commercial recreational fishing interests will also be part of the Accord.

Participation on the executive would be confirmed at the next hui. Ideally the Forum would be open to input from everyone with the executive doing what needs to be done, as directed by the Forum. MFish advised us the Bay of Plenty Forum meets every two months with the executive meeting monthly.

Role of the Forum

The Forum has a decision-making role rather than purely a consultative role. The objective of the Forum should be to deliver fisheries management outcomes that meet Maori aspirations. This will only be achieved if the Forum is empowered enough, particularly in regards to resourcing and funding. There was some concern amongst hui participants that we did not want the Hokianga Accord to fail due to a lack of sustainable funding.

Resourcing

The Ministry had already indicated it didn't have the resources or capacity to consult fully with all the iwi and hapu around the country. It is obviously a very extensive and expensive consultation process that is required. The Ministry seem to be devolving that responsibility back to Maori with limited resourcing.

It seems like a particularly cheap option for the Ministry to fulfil its obligations as required under section 12 of the Fisheries Act. It shifts a huge burden of human and financial cost of consultation to the groups involved in the Forums.

The hui discussed the history of previous forums established for recreational fishers. The only forum to succeed from that initiative was the group that enjoyed ongoing support from MFish. If there is insufficient funding support for the customary forums everyone will be worse off and it could easily be interpreted as another "Maori" failure.

The $20,000 available per annum to the Forum is not given to the group outright but on an "as required" basis. It can be used to pay for hui, venue, secretarial support or transport. This amount is clearly not enough to adequately resource the Forum and its activities. It certainly doesn't provide for the input and participation in fisheries management Working Groups or other forums by a contractor.

 

MFish Response

" The Government has set aside funds for the Forums, it is up to the Forum to work out with people like Stan [Crothers, MFish deputy CEO] how the extension officer will be used, whether the funding can be used to pay contractors."

Some Forums have chosen to use the $20,000 from MFish to pay for a secretary.

The Minister of Fisheries and Stan (Deputy CEO) are both happy with the arrangement to have tangata whenua and non-commercial recreational interests working together on the Forum. "The Government has given the Ministry of Fisheries $3.1M for tangata whenua, nobody else. They have given some money for recreational fishers in a different putea. If we spend money outside of that putea then my Chief Executive has misappropriated funds voted by Parliament for a certain purpose."

Consultation is still an obligation MFish have to fulfil. The Government would not be willing to give any agency the money to fully consult with all iwi and hapu in the country. MFish want to concentrate some of the ideas from iwi and hapu into regular meetings or forums.

Extension Officers

There will be up to 15 Extension Officers employed by the Ministry of Fisheries who will be available to customary Forums around the country. They will provide technical services and the Forum can decide what they need the Officer to do.

There was some concern that these Officers would not be employees of the actual Forums. The Hokianga Accord requested the opportunity to participate in the appointment of the Extension Officer that will be working with this Forum. The role and skills required of the Extension Officer will need to be determined before their appointment. They maybe required to attend fisheries management Working Groups on behalf of the Hokianga Accord and possibly other Forums as well. The Extension Officer working with the Hokianga Accord should ideally be employed through the Forum.

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Representation on Customary Forums

There were lengthy discussions on who should be on the Forum and whether different rules were being applied to the Maori customary forums, the Ministerial Advisory Panel and the regional recreational fishing forums, both of which were appointed by the Minister. There was some concern that the hurdles were being set higher for the customary forums. MFish disagreed.

MFish Response

" Cabinet rules say that whoever is on your forum has to be representative of the body that has appointed them there and that they can make decisions". There has been some issue with this point within the Bay of Plenty forum.

"The Minister's Advisory Forum is just that, it's a sounding board for advice of the decision. Where decisions and resources are binding or you are going to be looking at a thing that will affect anyone's rights then Cabinet's decision is that the person or body that affects that right has to be representative."

Hokianga Accord Interests

The four interest groups that will be involved in the Hokianga Accord are:

  •  Non-commercial Maori customary fishing interests
  •  Non-commercial recreational fishing interests
  •  Maori commercial interests
  •  Environmental interests.

MFish suggested the Terms of Reference should include how the non-commercial recreational fishing representatives would be selected; in order to meet the representative criteria the Government has for those participating in the Forum. This would be in line with the representative status of the Maori customary participants in the Forum.

There are some limitations as to the representative nature of the Forum participants according to the Justice Department, Cabinet decisions and the Minister's directions.

While the Hokianga Accord will be open to anyone, an executive is required to complete the work required, as directed by the Forum. Numbers and representatives would not be confirmed until after the conclusion of this hui. Executive members should have expertise in one or more of the above interest group categories. There is no reason why one person could not fulfil more than one function on the executive. Ultimately the roles of the executive will determine its size. Other people can be co-opted on as required.

 

Executive (To be confirmed):

1 x Chairman

1 x Secretary

3 x Iwi (TBC), Ngapuhi, Ngati Wai, Ngati Whatua with Te Rarawa to be confirmed.

2 x Non-commercial recreational

1 x Ministerial Advisory Panel representative i.e. Lorraine Hill

1 x Extension Officer (as required by the executive) – can be the person that participates in the Working Groups, sustainability rounds, research planning processes etc.

Carl Ross, manager of the Pou Hononga was keen for the hui to agree on who would be the executive and Chairman. All elected Chairman of the customary Forums would combine to form an Executive Forum. The first meeting is scheduled for the 10 th October. The purpose of the Tauranga hui was to discuss Terms of Reference for the combined Forum. Sonny Tau had been Chairman of the first three hui we had been involved in.   Sonny agreed to act as interim Chairman until the Hokianga Accord had completed the formal selection process.

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Terms of Reference and MOU

The Terms of Reference of the Hokianga Accord should describe how the parties involved in the Forum choose to work together as well as the width and scope of what the Forum hopes to achieve; it is essentially an internal document. On the other hand the Memorandum of Understanding describes the relationship between the Hokianga Accord and the Ministry of Fisheries. It also contains working protocols that are acceptable to both Parties to the MOU.

There was a good suggestion put forward that there should be a MOU between the non-commercial customary and recreational fishing interests involved in the Forum. This will need to be developed as well. Recreational fishers groups were more than happy to produce these documents.   The shape and form of these separate MOU's will be discussed at future hui.

A group of people were nominated to continue working on the draft Terms of Reference and MOU after the hui. The outcome of that work would be sent to all for input from their respective groups and feedback. The final drafts would be presented to the next hui for finalisation and hopefully, ratification.

Background information describing the history of Whakamaharatanga Marae as being a fisheries wananga should be included in at least one of the Forum documents. Te Pania Kingi will supply this history for future reference.

Terms of Reference

The Terms of Reference should include a clause on the Hokianga Accord expectation that the Ministry should provide adequate resourcing to meet the obligations of input and participation in s12 of the Fisheries Act 1996.

We should also include the Principles of the Accord. Final draft of these Principles will be presented to the next hui for endorsement.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

The MOU should be a simple document that sets out what is required of the Ministry to fulfil its s12 obligations. It explains the working relationship between the Ministry (not the Minister) and the Forum.

The obligations of how the Ministry provide support/services to the forum -

  • How the Ministry provide information.
  • How the Ministry commit to getting involved in the statutory processes the Forum would be involved in.
  • How the Ministry will finance the Forum.
  • Where/when the Forum would meet.
  • How the Ministry will involve the Forum in fisheries management decisions.
  • The skills required of the Extension Officer (this could change over time).

Terry explained " MOU's are good for the Ministry as it holds the Ministry accountable for their behaviour. What is Ministry's commitment to work with the Forum, timelines for distributing information, the disciplines, protocols of how parties behave?"

MFish produced a draft MOU under development by the Bay of Plenty Forum. It has taken 18 months to develop and has not been approved by Cabinet yet. MFish were keen for the hui to go through the draft MOU and consider using it as a template for the Hokianga Accord's MOU. There is no real hurry to complete this document, as we want to ensure every possible angle is covered.

Objections were raised as to MFish's timing of presenting the draft MOU to the hui with an expectation that people would have time to read, consider and understand its contents. Ministry could easily have sent the draft through electronically a week prior to the hui so everyone had time to read it before they arrived. As it was, there were not enough hard copies for all participants to read at the hui. Four weeks after the hui we were given an electronic copy of the document, after repeated requests. This was a timely reminder for us to nail down formal protocols for information sharing.

We were advised by Tom Moana, Tainui representative, that they had had input into an MOU for working with the Ministry which was completed some five years ago and still nothing was finalised. The Hokianga Accord need to make sure we have a faster process and not get too involved in developing the MOU at the direct expense of achieving anything else. This was good advice for those of us who have very little experience in developing MOU's.

MOU Contents

Bottom line contents were developed to go into the MOU. These to be infused into the document and sent out for discussion before the next hui:

  • Preamble to refer to Te Tiriti o Waitangi 1840, not the Treaty of Waitangi.
  • Comment on representative nature of Forum participants.
  • Forum will be focussing on Maori customary management tools i.e. Mataitai, taiapure, temporary closures (s186A of Fisheries Act 1996).
  • Forum specifically wants important shared fisheries run above or significantly above Bmsy – as per the new policy outlined by the Minister in July 2005.
  • Specify the unique nature of the Forum – includes non-commercial recreational fishing interests as well as customary.
  • Pubic awareness will need adequate resourcing. A separate budget will be required as the $20,000 annual input from MFish will not be sufficient to address this issue. We need to relate this back to statutory obligations of the Crown.
  • We need a commitment from all parties to deliver on measurable outcomes, not just 'facilitate, promote or enable'.
  • Engagement protocols.
  • Principles of the Hokianga Accord.
  • Obligations of the Hokianga Accord to the Ministry of Fisheries.
  • Acceptance from MFish that mataitai and taiapure have to be recognised as a start to qualifying as a Marine Protected Area (MPA).

Separate to the MOU the Hokianga Accord would like to ask the Minister not to establish a regional recreational fishing forum in Northland. We would prefer to work together to achieve good outcomes for all fishing interests.

 

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