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Maori fishing rights must be at forefront of Kermadec renegotiations - Little

Felix Marwick,
Publish Date
Monday, 19 September 2016, 9:57AM
Labour leader Andrew Little. Photo / NZ Herald.
Labour leader Andrew Little. Photo / NZ Herald.

There are no ifs, buts, or maybes from Labour leader Andrew Little when it comes to Maori fishing rights around the Kermadec Islands.

The Government is locked in a dispute with iwi interests and Te Ohu Kaimoana over plans to establish a marine sanctuary around the islands - Maori argue it breaches their fishery settlement rights.

SEE ALSO: Maori Party attempts to smooth troubled waters over Kermadecs

Andrew Little said the Government knows there's a 1992 settlement, even if the fishing rights under it haven't been exercised.

"And that has to be negotiated and settled before they barge ahead with legislation pretending that those rights don't exist.

"Labour learned that lesson in 2004, and we shouldn't be repeating the same mistake."

SEE ALSO: 'Zero chance' of Kermadec dispute escalating further with Maori Party - PM 

Meanwhile, the Greens appear to need more details before picking a side in the squabble.

Party co-leader Metiria Turei said advice around iwi quota rights is conflicting.

"And so until there's some resolution about that advice, we can only wait and see what that resolution is," she said.

"We support the sanctuary, we support any Maori having their mana upheld."

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