Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Kermadec sanctuary to go ahead despite iwi opposition

Legislation establishing New Zealand's largest ocean sanctuary at the Kermadec Islands will be introduced in Parliament tomorrow. Photo / Supplied
Legislation establishing New Zealand's largest ocean sanctuary at the Kermadec Islands will be introduced in Parliament tomorrow. Photo / Supplied

A marine sanctuary will go ahead in the Kermadec Islands regardless of iwi opposition, Prime Minister John Key says.

Legislation which will establish New Zealand's largest ocean sanctuary 1000km northeast of the North Island will be introduced in Parliament tomorrow.

Mr Key told reporters this afternoon that "everyone is excluded" from the 620,000sq km sanctuary, including Maori whose Treaty settlements granted them fishing quota rights within the proposed boundaries of the reserve.

Iwi had not taken up these rights and the migratory species found at the Kermadecs could be caught elsewhere, he said.

The relevant Treaty settlements would not be re-negotiated because "Parliament has the sovereign right to do what it likes".

Maori Fisheries Trust Te Ohu Kaimoana says that iwi have commercial interests in the area, and it is irrelevant that they had not fished the area for several years.

The trust was disappointed with the absence of consultation on the proposed sanctuary, saying that it was only told 10 hours before the Government confirmed the initiative at a high-profile event in New York in September.

Mr Key said the Government would consider including iwi in the governance of the sanctuary. But compensation for affected Maori was out of the question.

Northern iwi Ngati Kuri and Te Aupouri, which had rights to the Kermadec fishing grounds, have not commercially fished there for more than five years.

NZH

- NZ Herald

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