18 August 2023

Iwi leaders will vehemently oppose any moves from the Government to push through the proposed Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary legislation in the final days of this Parliament. In June, 42 iwi organisations representing tangata whenua nationwide overwhelmingly rejected the Government’s Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary proposal at a Special General Meeting held by Te Ohu Kaimoana.

At the time iwi said there was an opportunity to develop and progress an indigenous led approach to marine management and this was immediately conveyed to the Crown. This meeting of iwi is set to take place in Wellington next Thursday 24 August.

“The rumours and media suggestion that the Government is preparing to push through legislation under urgency to establish the Sanctuary is repugnant. If it is proven to be correct, this a breach of the Crown’s responsibility to act in good faith to protect the Fisheries Deed of Settlement and Te Tiriti o Waitangi and would result in an extinguishment of rights confirmed by the Deed.” Says Pahia Turia, Chair of Te Ohu Kaimoana.

“We have received no communication from the Crown regarding this action. This is a desperate move for votes using Māori as a political football. It is reminiscent of the foreshore and seabed action in 2004 and the 2015 announcement of the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary by then Prime Minister John Key.”

“The Crown’s proposal represents a theft and confiscation by the Crown. It is an extinguishment of Māori property rights against the will and approval of tangata whenua in Aotearoa as guaranteed by the Deed of Settlement, signed between Māori and the Crown in 1992. If the Crown move ahead – the response of our people will be strong and swift”.

Te Ohu Kaimoana has formally written to Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, Environment Minister David Parker and the Labour Māori caucus to convey its views.


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