Fisheries policy: The Maori Party

September 3, 2017

LegaSea asked the Maori Party to provide comment on their party’s fisheries policy. The Maori Party provided this statement.

The Māori Party is committed to ensuring Aotearoa’s natural resources and environment is healthy for everyone. We also support the health and wellbeing of our people and this requires that environmental degradation is addressed. As Māori, we have a role as kaitiaki of our natural resources based on the spiritual and cultural relationship we have always had with the environment. Māori therefore have a crucial role in the management of these resources including our rivers, mountains and national parks. It is our responsibility and right to protect, restore and enhance the health and wellbeing of the environment.

The Māori Party sees outdoor recreation as a legitimate right for all New Zealanders. We agree that there should be adequate, credible, non-political, representation in the decision-making of resource use, improved recreational opportunities and freedom of access for all as long as iwi and hapū rights and interests are maintained.

The Māori Party recognises Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding document of our modern nation reflecting the partnership between Māori as tangata whenua and the Crown. The government in exercising its kawanatanga or governance has an obligation to also honour and support the partnership and ensure that Māori retain rangatiratanga or self-determination. We do not see Treaty Claims as diluting the integrity of national parks such as the return of the Urewera to Ngai Tuhoe. We especially do not consider that Treaty claims are threatening public access/use of the nation’s coasts and waterways.

We believe that water is a taonga and we all must do everything that we can to protect its quality and vitality to ensure its availability for all New Zealanders. We do not support the damming and diversion of water through private canals of river systems for hydro or storage and believe that alternative storage and energy options must be established. Nor do we support the unfettered sale of water to foreign overseas water markets.

We recognise the urgency in establishing alternative sources of energy that are environmentally friendly and do not depend on fossil fuels. We support the reduction of emission targets as identified at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, 2015.

The Māori Party does not support the changes to Snapper Area 1 and the impact on recreational fishing. Reducing the bag limit from nine to seven and increasing the minimum legal size limit from 27 to 30cm, to fit the increased recreational allowance of 3050 tonnes penalises recreational fishers at the same time that there is no change to the Total Allowable Commercial Catch. We note that the new size limit will also increase release mortality associated with recreational catch and that there are no targeted measures to improve snapper abundance in the collapsed Bay of Plenty fishery.

The Māori Party supports the call from the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council for the effective implementation of initiatives to address waste caused by bulk harvesting commercial fishing methods, and to rebuild the Snapper 1 fishery.

We also support the rebuilding of depleted fish stocks for inshore fisheries and the closure of sensitive inshore fisheries areas to destructive commercial harvesting methods, to protect and enhance the environment and save juvenile fish. The Māori Party wishes to see the fisheries managed sustainably to provide for the needs of future generations.

We note the relationship with the commercial fishing industry and MPI and Fishserv, the monitoring company which is owned by the industry lobby group, Seafood New Zealand and do not consider this appropriate.

Briefly on other areas, the Māori Party does not support shallow or deep-water oil and gas exploration, nor do we support mining in the marine environment. We would consider wide-ranging oceans reform (including marine spatial planning and marine protected areas) if this was supported by iwi and hapū. We support better marine mammal protection including promoting the transition from net setting and trawling (which would be out to a 100m depth contour) to more selective sustainable methods thereby enhancing biodiversity within the marine area and preventing the extinction of marine species such as the Maui and Hector’s dolphins and the eyelash seaweed. We support retaining the management of recreational fishing outside the Quota Management System but we would also support a review the Quota Management System and current New Zealand fisheries management to address issues of fish dumping, the non-reporting of bycatch and illegal fishing practices.

More information
I Fish. I Care. I Vote – How does this policy compare to other party’s fisheries policies?
LegaSea’s Manifesto – See how this policy compares to our five policy planks.
The full Maori Party fisheries-environmental policy