Iwi pulls out of Kermadec trip

Political battles over the foreshore and seabed just over a decade saw MPs quit Labour to start the Māori Party (Getty / file)
Political battles over the foreshore and seabed just over a decade saw MPs quit Labour to start the Māori Party (Getty / file)

Māori anger over the Government's decision to go ahead and establish the Kermadec marine reserve has resulted in an iwi pullout of a fact-finding trip to the US.

Iwi and Māori fishing interests decided yesterday to reject a Government compromise offer, and instead will continue with court action over what they see as a breach of Treaty rights.

Te Runanga Nui o Te Aupōuri chairman Rick Witana was invited on the US trip by Environmental Minister Nick Smith, but won't be going.

"Te Aupōuri supports the notion of marine reserves in order to conserve or preserve aspects of the environment that require it," Mr Witana said in a statement.

"Where these things intersect with Treaty matters, the Government must make choices that have the least impact on Māori rights. The Government is not doing this - rather it is choosing the option that most intrudes on Māori rights."

He says other sanctuaries in the Pacific allow for sustainable fishing, and he regrets having to pull out of the trip to make a point.

"Māori property rights to the fishery resource was litigated and settled in the Māori fisheries settlement legislation. The controversial Kermadec legislation proposes to redefine that right without consultation.

"It is shades of foreshore and seabed all over again, only this time the Government is extinguishing a property right that has already been litigated, resolved and protected in a full and final settlement."

Political battles over the foreshore and seabed just over a decade saw MPs quit Labour to start the Māori Party.

Mr Witana's comments follow a similar comparison on Wednesday by chair of the Māori Fisheries Trust, Jamie Tuuta.

"This will be the Government's foreshore and seabed. They are taking away real rights that are an important part of the first Treaty settlement and thereby risking every Treaty settlement that follows." 

Newshub.