Aquaculture Bill - third reading
Wednesday 24th March
Ngāi Tahu representatives will be at Parliament today to mark the final step in the formal agreement with the Crown over pre-commencement (1992-2004) aquaculture interests in Te Waipounamu (the South Island) and the Hauraki Gulf.
The third reading of the Māori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement (Regional Agreements) Amendment Bill is taking place this afternoon.
A series of amendments to the Act give effect to an Agreement in Principle signed in October 2008 and the subsequent Deed of Settlement signed in May last year.
At the heart of the agreement is a one-off cash payment of $97 million to a number of iwi in full and final settlement of the current Crown obligations for "pre-commencement space" or aquaculture space that was approved between 21 September 1992 and 31 December 2004 under previous marine farming regimes.
Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon acknowledged the role of all involved, particularly the role of Te Tau Ihu iwi in bringing the settlement to fruition.
The agreement marks historical level of cooperation between the iwi of Hauraki, Ngāti Apa ki Te Rā Tō, Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Kuia, Ngāti Rarua, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Toa, Rangitāne and Te Ati Awa (Te Tau Ihu). The iwi worked together prior to 2009 to develop a fair estimate of their entitlements in respect of pre-commencement space.
In 2004 the Crown agreed to provide iwi with the equivalent of 20% of “pre-commencement space" being space first made available for aquaculture between 21 September 1992 and 31 December 2004. That equivalent could take the form of a percentage of new aquaculture space, marine farming permits purchased by the Crown for the purpose, or the financial equivalent value. In 2008, there was acknowledgement from the Crown that it would have to pay the financial equivalent in a number of regions.
Mark Solomon says the signing of the Deed of Settlement at Te Papa last year was a joyous occasion, and that although today’s third reading would be a quieter affair, it was reassuring to know that the final step in the process was being completed.