INDEPENDENT NEWS

Concerns of Maori Fishing Companies Shoved Aside

Published: Tue 10 Oct 2006 08:38 AM
“Concerns of Maori Fishing Companies Shoved Aside” says Tariana Turia; Co-leader, Maori Party
Tariana Turia tonight responded to comments made by the Prime Minister in relation to the Foreign Fishing Crews situation, by expressing great disappointment that the concerns of Maori people involved in the fishing industry have been shoved aside in the pursuit of political headlines.
“This is not about the Maori Party” said Mrs Turia. “We’re standing by Maori people involved in the fishing industry who have expressed huge concern that unwarranted Government interference in arrangements with foreign-chartered fishing vessels will render many iwi businesses ‘marginal or uneconomic’”.
“Ms Clark needs to forget about petty party political attacks, to focus on the real concerns of iwi” said Mrs Turia.
“Is she prepared to ignore the consistent rejection of these proposals by people such as Dr Api Mahuika (Ngati Porou); Sealord Chief Executive, Doug McKay; Treaty Tribes Coalition Chair, Harry Mikaere; Raukura Moana Fisheries head, Richard Batley; Ngati Kahungunu Chair, Ngahiwi Tomoana; Aotearoa Fisheries Chief Executive, Robin Hapi; Te Runanga a iwi o Ngapuhi Chief Executive, Teresa Tepania-Ashton, to name but a few?” asked Mrs Turia.
“These people have all made public statements which describe the proposals as seriously undermining the value of their settlements; stating they will have a dis-proportionate effect on Maori-owned fisheries quota”.
“The significant increase of up to $2 extra an hour over and above the minimum wage will hurt Maori more than any other - as the vast majority of iwi are principally dependent on foreign charter vessels to catch quota” said Mrs Turia.
“We will continue to support our constituency in presenting their grave objections about this proposal” said Mrs Turia. “We have to ask - who will benefit from this new scheme?”
“The Prime Minister was quite happy to send work offshore to China and Fiji to get cheaper rates so it is rich to now pretend that this Government is interested in the poorly paid overseas workers” said Mrs Turia.
“The reality is - no one was advocating exploitation. Crews are already covered by laws setting wages and conditions, and responsible charter operations comply with those laws” explained Mrs Turia.
“Maori involved in the fishing industry have been working over the last eighteen months to agree to a code of practice which would eliminate any rogue vessels from our shores. Those are the cowboy companies we should be targeting - not iwi - whose viability in the fisheries industry will now be seriously threatened.
“The Maori Party would ask the Minister of Immigration to tell New Zealand the real story behind this latest scheme - to name these rogue companies, and produce the hard evidence. We wonder is there more behind this?”
ends

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