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Response to Submission Extension Request

Office of Hon Pete Hodgson
MP for Dunedin North

5 NOV 2003

Dear Trish Rea

Thank you for your letter received by email on 23 October 2003 concerning the Paterson Inlet Marine Reserve application.

The Department of Conservation and the Ministry of Fisheries have an agreed process for considering marine reserve applications. A copy of this process is attached. With new, or recent, applications this process involves a joint Department of Conservation and Ministry of Fisheries consultation/submission process. However, some applications, such as the Paterson Inlet one, may require a further consultation process in order for the Ministry of Fisheries to provide me with up-to-date information upon which to base my concurrence decision.

The Ministry of Fisheries' consultation process for the Paterson Inlet Marine Reserve proposal has been well advertised, in newspapers as far north as Canterbury , and a submission period of five weeks was allowed. I understand that the Ministry of Fisheries has advised you that they will accept late submissions up until 11 November 2003 - a two-week extension.

I also understand that Rose Grindley has spoken with you and clarified the way that the Ministry of Fisheries will handle submissions. The submission process is not a voting process, with the highest number "winning". Each submission will be analysed on the merits of the relevant information put forward and the relevant benefits or impacts identified by the submitter, or submitters.

It is correct that a mataitai reserve application has been filed for an area of Paterson Inlet. The application covers all of the coastal waters of the Inlet lying to the southwest of a line from Acker's Point to Buller's Point, excluding the area proposed as a marine reserve. I believe that the tangata whenua and the Stewart Island community have been working closely together to develop the mataitai reserve application. In addition, tangata whenua and the Department of Conservation have worked together in the expectation that the proposed mataitai reserve and the proposed marine reserve will complement each other.

At the time of the consultation meetings for the Paterson Inlet Marine Reserve proposal, the mataitai reserve application had not been received. A separate process must be run for the mataitai reserve application as it falls under different legislation to that of the marine reserve application.

The consultation process for a mataitai reserve proposal is set out in the Fisheries (South Island Customary Fishing) Regulations 1999, and includes consultation with the local community and with persons who take fish, aquatic life, or seaweed, or own quota in the area concerned. "Local community" is defined in the regulations as "those persons who own land in the proximity of the proposed mataitai reserve or those who have a place of residence in the proximity of the proposed mataitai reserve and have been in occupation for a cumulative period of no less than 3 months in the 3 consecutive years immediately preceding the date of the application.

I have enclosed an information pamphlet explaining the South Island Customary Fishing Regulations and the process. Further copies are available from Ministry of Fisheries offices. A copy of the Regulations may be obtained from your nearest Government Bookshop.

While the Paterson Inlet Fisheries Management Plan has been a successful initiative, there may be management needs for the area wider than just fisheries management. Marine reserves are to preserve areas for the scientific study of marine life, and mataitai reserves are to recognise and provide for customary food gathering by Maori and the special relationship between tangata whenua and places of importance for customary food gathering.

Before I make any concurrence decision about the proposed Paterson Inlet Marine Reserve, I assure you that I will be carefully weighing up the impacts and benefits.


Yours sincerely

Hon Pete Hodgson

Minister of Fisheries


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