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Maori Aquaculture Settlement Bill Passed

by 5m Editor
25 March 2010, at 12:00am

NEW ZEALAND - Acting Fisheries Minister Nick Smith has welcomed the passage of the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Amendment Bill in Parliament which gives Maori's NZ$97 million under the settlement.

The Bill gives effect to a Deed of Settlement signed in May last year with iwi of the South Island and Coromandel for an early cash payment to meet the Crown's obligations under the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act 2004.

The agreement centres on a payment of $97 million in full and final settlement of all Crown obligations for "pre-commencement space" or aquaculture space that was approved between 21 September 1992 and 31 December 2004 under the previous marine farming regime. The agreement covers the vast majority of New Zealand's current aquaculture development areas, including the Marlborough Sounds, Tasman Bay and the Hauraki Gulf, along with the rest of the South Island.

"The original settlement was based on Maori getting a share of new aquaculture space to make up for that which they had not acquired historically but the process for providing this space failed," Dr Smith said. "This cash settlement has been used to resolve this issue."

Dr Smith said this is a ground-breaking settlement, with so many people coming together to negotiate a single agreement across much of the country.

"The passing of this Bill clears the last hurdle in finalising the agreement between the Crown and the people of the South Island and Coromandel. It also clears the way for early cash settlements to be negotiated with other iwi in other areas.

5m Editor