October 8, 2008
New Zealand government to pay Maori for aquaculture space
New Zealand's government is apaying US$100 million to natives bordering the new aquaculture areas.
The one-off payment from New Zealand's Government settles an agreement reached in 2004 to pay the native Maori for the commercial use of aquaculture space, for which compensation was never granted.
The Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act 2004 provides a "full and final settlement" of all Maori claims (current and future) over commercial marine farming in the coastal marine area, from 21 September 1992 onwards.
The Act contains the framework for providing aquaculture settlement assets to iwi.
Under that deal, Maori were promised the equivalent of 20 percent of pre-existing aquaculture space and 20 percent of future space.
Iwi with interests in the Marlborough Sounds, Tasman Bay, other parts of the South Island and the Hauraki Gulf are to get the cash windfall.
It was only meant to be done by 2014, it has been brought forward on the instigation of Iwi in the top of the South Island (Te Tau Ihu).
Work by the Ministry of Fisheries and the Office of Treaty Settlements made the agreement of an early settlement possible.
An official signing ceremony in parliament is planned next week, and is to include representatives of all the Iwi involved.
Richard Bradley a spokesman for native group Rangitane said the settlement meant the natives could now put the grievance behind them and that they can start participating in the aquaculture industry with their share of the settlement.