Te Ohu Kaimoana is pleased the government is consulting on options to improve the allocation and transfer processes provided for in the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act 2004.

Consultation officially began on 28 November 2019 with the release of a discussion document that proposes different options for enabling the allocation of aquaculture settlement assets to Iwi in accordance with the Act. The discussion document is based on a proposal we co-developed with Iwi in 2018 that seeks to amend some of the requirements in the Act that are preventing Iwi in certain regions from accessing their aquaculture settlement assets.

We have attended targeted engagement meetings with affected Iwi Aquaculture Organisations and staff from the Ministry for Primary Industries and Fisheries New Zealand. The engagement hui demonstrated that there is a real desire from Iwi to amend the Act. Amending the Act will provide Te Ohu Kaimoana with greater flexibility to allocate aquaculture settlement assets, enabling us to get a greater proportion of aquaculture settlement assets into the hands of Iwi.

Te Ohu Kaimoana is in the process of drafting a formal response to the discussion document – we will provide our draft for Iwi input early in the New Year.

About the options in the discussion document

The discussion document outlines three options to support Iwi to access their aquaculture settlement assets:

Option 1 – maintain the status quo.

Option 2 – increase resourcing to help facilitate allocation agreements amongst Iwi, with no change to legislation.

Option 3 – amend the Act to provide Te Ohu Kaimoana with a limited discretionary power to allocate and transfer undisputed assets when no unanimous decision can be reached among Iwi Aquaculture Organisations, or when the dispute resolution processes provided for in the Act are unable to resolve the issue.

For more information about the consultation, check out the Fisheries New Zealand website.

Submissions close at 5pm on 20 February 2020.