Fisheries Bill a good deal for all - Cullen
27 June 2000
"The fisheries legislation to come back to Parliament today will enable the Government to honour its Treaty of Waitangi obligations and will put the New Zealand fishing industry on to a firmer foundation," acting Fisheries Minister Michael Cullen said.
Dr Cullen was referring to the Fisheries Amendment Bill [No.2] which was today reported back to the House by the Primary Production Select Committee.
"The Bill brings the eight species on the Fourth Schedule of the Fisheries Act 1996 into the Quota Management System [QMS] and offers a compensation package to existing licence holders of almost $50 million in payments and asset transfers.
"The previous National Government was refusing to pay any compensation but this Government is prepared to take a more generous view," Dr Cullen said.
Considerable urgency attached to the bill as the Fourth Schedule included the South Island eel fishery which, under the terms of the 1998 Ngai Tahu Settlement, had to be brought into the QSM by 1 October.
Under the fisheries agreement negotiated between the Crown and Maori in 1992, 20 percent of the total allowable commercial catch must be transferred to Maori as species were introduced into the QSM.
"The Government will compensate existing stakeholders by paying them half the market value for the 20 percent of their catch they will lose to Maori. We expect this to cost around $4.5 million," Dr Cullen said.
"On top of that they will be getting, for no charge, an asset in perpetuity which they can sell and from which they will get a capital gain when they leave the industry. Unlike a fishing licence, quota carries property rights.
"Our advice is that the 80 percent stake has a current value of $45 million. Licence holders will be getting that for nothing. They are getting an exceptionally good deal," Dr Cullen said.