Maori Fisheries Act 2004

  • This version was replaced on 19 February 2018 to make corrections to sections 8(4), 21(1)(b)(i), and 142(3) under section 25(1)(k) of the Legislation Act 2012.

Preamble

(1)

By the Treaty of Waitangi, the Queen of England confirmed and guaranteed to the chiefs, tribes, and individual Maori the full, exclusive, and undisturbed possession of their fisheries for so long as they wished to retain them:

(2)

Maori claimed in proceedings in the High Court and in various claims to the Waitangi Tribunal that the quota management system introduced by the Fisheries Amendment Act 1986 was unlawful and in breach of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, or had no application to Maori fisheries (including commercial fisheries):

(3)

In legal proceedings, Maori obtained from the High Court and the Court of Appeal, by way of interim relief, a declaration that the Crown ought not to take further steps to bring the fisheries within the quota management system:

(4)

The Maori Fisheries Act 1989 was enacted to make better provision for the recognition of Maori commercial fishing rights secured by the Treaty of Waitangi. The Act provided that the Maori Fisheries Commission was to be provided with 10% of all quota holdings then subject to the quota management system, or the equivalent value in cash as compensation for commercial fishing claims:

(5)

A Deed of Settlement dated 23 September 1992 was entered into between the Crown and representatives of the New Zealand Maori Council, the National Maori Congress, and iwi:

(6)

In that Deed of Settlement it was agreed that the settlement (which was ultimately for the benefit of all Maori), the implementation in legislation of the agreements made in that Deed, and the continuing relationship between the Crown and Maori, would constitute a full and final settlement of all Maori claims to commercial fishing rights:

(7)

The Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act 1992, an Act “to give effect to the settlement of claims relating to Maori fishing rights”, provided for the implementation of the Deed of Settlement through the following means:

(a)

reconstitution of the Maori Fisheries Commission as the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission; and

(b)

payment by the Crown to the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission of a sum of $150 million to be used for the development and involvement of Maori in the New Zealand fishing industry, including participation in a joint venture with Brierley Investments Limited to acquire Sealord Products Limited, a major fishing company; and

(c)

provision for the allocation to the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission of 20% of quota for any new quota management stocks brought within the quota management system; and

(d)

provision for the making of regulations to recognise and provide for customary food gathering by Maori; and

(e)

empowerment of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission to allocate the assets held by the Maori Fisheries Commission at the settlement date specified in the Deed of Settlement, after considering how best to give effect to the resolutions adopted by the Annual General Meeting of the Maori Fisheries Commission on 25 July 1992 and reporting to the Minister of Fisheries for approval of that scheme of allocation; and

(f)

empowerment of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission, after full consultation with Maori, to develop and report to the Minister on proposals for a new Maori Fisheries Act that would provide—

(i)

a scheme for identifying the beneficiaries and their interests under the Deed of Settlement; and

(ii)

a procedure to allocate the assets of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission (other than those held prior to the signing of that Deed):

(8)

The Crown, through the provisions of the Fisheries Act 1996, allocates to the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission 20% of quota for any new quota management stocks brought within the quota management system:

(9)

The Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission, having considered its duties under the Maori Fisheries Act 1989 and the Deed of Settlement, has examined alternative methods for allocating its assets, produced discussion material, and consulted with iwi and Maori on the allocation of the assets referred to in Schedule 1A of the Maori Fisheries Act 1989:

(10)

In 1998 the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission developed an “optimum model” for allocation. The bases for that model have been challenged in successive court actions and overall have been found to have been consistent with the intent of the Deed of Settlement:

(11)

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, in Te Waka Hi Ika o Te Arawa v Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission [2002] 2 NZLR 17, held that the obligations of the trust imposed by the Deed of Settlement required the benefits of the settlement to be allocated to iwi, meaning the traditional tribes, for the ultimate benefit of all Maori:

(12)

Subsequently, the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission considered and took into account the findings of the courts as to its duties under the Maori Fisheries Act 1989 and the Deed of Settlement. It examined alternative methods for allocating its assets, produced further consultation material, consulted with iwi and Maori, and after undertaking additional processes to reach agreement on the model, considered that it had secured the maximum possible support for its allocation proposals:

(13)

In May 2003, the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission reported to the Minister of Fisheries on its proposal for the allocation of the assets it held on the settlement date specified in the Deed of Settlement: He Kawai Amokura: A model for allocation of the Fisheries Settlement Assets: Report to the Minister of Fisheries:

(14)

The Minister of Fisheries assessed the proposal of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission, in accordance with the requirements of the Maori Fisheries Act 1989 and the Deed of Settlement, and considered the proposal to be consistent with those requirements. He therefore agreed to incorporate the proposal in legislation:

(15)

The enactment of this legislation will complete implementation of the agreements in the Deed of Settlement between the Crown and Maori in respect of Maori claims to commercial fisheries, as outlined in the Preamble to that Deed and in the Preamble of the Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act 1992.