Haruru te moana,
ngatoro te moana
Tenei nga ngaru ka whakapiki
Tenei nga ngaru ka whakaheke
Ko Tangaroa, Tangaroa ka hokai
Kie hura i te wiwii, hura i te wawaa
Taku waka, taku waka, hoe hoea, hoe hoea ...
[Listen to the thundering oceans, the furious oceans,
These are the waves that rise high,
These are the waves that pound the shores,
'Tis Tangaroa, behold Tangaroa as he speeds over the oceans,
Let the calm be widespread, let it be soon,
My waka, put forth my waka; paddle, paddle swiftly ...]
My topic today concerns the relationship between New Zealanders,
both Maori and Pakeha, and the sea. It concerns fishing, both customary
and otherwise, but it is much more than fishing. It is the development
of an Oceans Policy for New Zealand.
We are an island
nation. The health of our oceans, our land and our people are inextricably
linked. The decision to develop an Oceans Policy begins simply with
a recognition of the value of our oceans, a recognition of the growing
pressures on the marine environment, and a determination to address
problems before they become crises.
This is a policy
about new opportunities - how we make room for them, and how we
ensure they are sustainable. Our Exclusive Economic Zone is one
of the largest in the world. It is too easy to assume our oceans
will always be big enough for us, big enough to survive anything
we throw at them or pull out of them.
are beginning to show in our oceans. Conflicts in their use are
erupting more and more frequently. If there is one simple reason
why an Oceans Policy is a good idea, it is that those strains and
conflicts will increase. That's a certainty.
It's a certainty
because our growing population will always need and want wide range
of things from our oceans, from the commercial to the spiritual.
More and more often we will have to decide what is most important
to us, when, and why.
We have plenty
of laws dealing with the marine environment. Quite often they work.
We have more policy under way - on aquaculture, on recreational
fishing, on marine reserves.
But we do not
have clear overarching goals to guide us when such different activities
and interests come into conflict. That is the gap the Oceans Policy
This is a strategic
process. The conflicts arising between different interests in the
marine environment are not yet crises. They are more at the level
often don't react to problems until they become urgent. This policy
is about thinking ahead, about giving ourselves the tools to manage
conflicts before they get out of hand.
So what sort
of problem am I talking about?
for example, the clashes that can happen - and are likely to happen
more and more often - between recreational and commercial uses of
the sea. A company wanting to create a marine farm, lay an undersea
cable or run a tourist operation could follow all the rules for
that activity, yet still run into trouble with recreational users
of the area. Those recreational users could follow all due processes
for participating in the decision-making, yet still be deeply dissatisfied.
The same problems
can arise between Maori and Pakeha - over whether there should be
a taiapure or a marine reserve in a particular area, for example.
Or between coastal residents and the developers of marine facilities
such as ports and marinas. Or between boaties and commercial fishermen
or transport operators.
will arise from new technologies. Deep sea marine farming and mining
are recent additions to the range of possible human activities in
the sea. There will be more, and our approach to managing the marine
environment must be flexible enough to absorb them.
is a framework that helps us mediate between such different interests
- that grounds decisions in a democratically agreed set of values
the first step towards defining that framework with the consultation
process carried out last year.
We did something
uncommon in modern politics but familiar to Maori: we began by seeking
clarity about our values and aspirations in respect of our oceans.
Advisory Committee on Oceans Policy, led by Dame Cath Tizard, spent
three months talking with New Zealanders all around the country,
at public meetings and hui. They asked people about their vision
for New Zealand's oceans - and about the values and principles they
think should guide decisions about the marine environment.
About 2000 people
attended the public meetings and more than 1000 made written submissions.
The committee's report to the government in October gives us a very
clear insight into what New Zealanders think and feel about the
sea and the coast, and it will guide the next stage of policy development.
Based on the
results of the consultation process, ministers have agreed on a
vision statement for the Oceans Policy. It says we want healthy
oceans. We want New Zealanders to understand marine life and marine
processes and take responsibility for wisely managing the health
of the ocean and its contribution to the present and future social,
cultural, environmental and economic wellbeing of New Zealand.
Now we have
to design the policies and processes necessary to achieve that.
I don't know
where this will take us. I don't know whether it will mean new legislation,
a new government agency or service, or none of these things. This
process does not have a pre-determined outcome.
will be uncomfortable with that. Others can't believe there isn't
a cunning secret plan hidden in my desk. But I genuinely have an
open mind on what the result will be. And I'm comfortable with not
having all the answers already.
That said, there
are a few ideas that are non-negotiable. First is sustainability:
if it isn't sustainable, it isn't a solution. Second is the role
and importance of Article Two of the Treaty. It is that which will
make New Zealand's Oceans Policy different from any other on the
planet. Third is the importance of access. All New Zealanders take
it as a given that they can drop into, or onto, or under the sea,
pretty much when they want to.
group listed some big challenges for an Oceans Policy. From them
we've identified seven key high level issues for Stage Two of the
policy process this year.
First is the
identification of models for integrated management. We need to look
at systems for consistent decision-making across a wide range of
Second is the
need for holistic management systems. New Zealanders have a very
wide range of values in relation to the sea: cultural, economic,
recreational, scientific, ecological, aesthetic, spiritual and more.
We need to identify management systems that can take account of
them all, as well as the very diverse physical qualities of the
We need to determine
how we are going to bring about compliance with these management
systems - and enforce them if necessary. Policies that encourage
voluntary compliance will be a high priority.
We need to settle
on decision making models that make it clear where, when, how and
by whom decisions are made and implemented - whether nationally,
regionally, or locally.
We need to work
out how the Treaty of Waitangi partnership is going to function
in relation to the Oceans Policy. Both tangata whenua and Crown
have rights, but just as importantly they have responsibilities.
We need an information
management framework that will help us identify what we need to
learn about the marine environment. When launching this process
a little over a year ago I suggested our knowledge of the oceans
was no better than European knowledge of terrestrial ecosystems
a century ago. Much of the life in our seas is still unknown to
us, or poorly understood.
The last of
the seven big issues is how we monitor and measure what we put in
place. We must be able to judge to what extent we are succeeding
or failing, so we can make any changes necessary.
These are all
big questions. There are no easy answers. Nor is there any one set
of answers that will last forever. This is policy that we must settle
soon, but then allow to evolve as values and knowledge change.
due to report to ministers with a work programme by the end of next
month. We are determined that it will continue to be an inclusive
process, with plenty of opportunities for participation.
We will also
be looking for a small reference group, of about five wise people,
who can help us work through the issues as we go. This will not
be a decision-making group, or a group of representatives or advocates
of particular stakeholders. It will be a resource for ministers,
a sounding board for ideas. An advisory group of public sector chief
executives will also help us.
I cannot emphasise
enough, however, that the Oceans Policy must be the product of a
broad, collective effort if it is to succeed. New Zealanders in
all sectors of the economy and society need to recognise their collective
interest in having an integrated, widely agreed policy for managing
our relationship with our oceans.
is committed to taking the lead on this. Many others, in particular
many Maori, have begun to engage. Some have worked out that getting
the big picture right will increase the chances of the details falling
into place where they should.
means letting go of the approach so often taken to public policy
issues, which is to identify the interests of your sector, constituency,
iwi, corporate, membership, or whatever, then lobby hard for the
policy that will maximise those interests with little or no regard
for others. That will not work this time.
referee the clash of interests in our oceans and produce a formula
for compromise that everyone can live with. New Zealanders themselves
need to identify what is most important to them in their relationship
with our oceans and what they are prepared to trade off or compromise.
That is what the Oceans Policy process is about.
It is a lot
to ask, I know. But it will pay off handsomely if we succeed.
Ka tika a uta
Ka tike a tai
[If all is right
Thus will the sea be cared for]