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Hauraki Gulf Forum

You are probably unaware of the machinations within the Forum recently following John Tregidga resigning as Chair. This was brought about by his frustration at the inaction of Government at implementing the recommendations of the Forum, and establishing an acceptable form of governance for the Gulf.

Much of this is the result a huge disparity in the way many of its own members perceive the role of the forum, and in particular, the overlying role of iwi in determining its future. For iwi, read Paul Majaury who has played a dominant part in determining its direction to date. One can detect his hand in the manner which the Governance Review was formulated leading to the Co-governance model with equal numbers of mana weheua, and other members.

This was to be considered alongside the Sea Change Tai Timu Pari and Treaty settlement process, and that leaves the gate wide open for the introduction of corrupt practises, particularly in regard to the allocation of fish and other resources from with Gulf. A Forum of 16, with 8 iwi representatives, elected through their own processes, 3 from local authorities and 5 appointed by the Minister, is proposed.

The Forum would regulate and control virtually all activities that take place within the area covered by the Hauraki Marine Park Act. Make no mistake, our Mayor was having none of it, and on the departure of Deputy Mayor Peter French, who was accused of dereliction of duty by some, soon replaced him on the Forum where she has reputedly played a 'spoiler' role ever since.

The upshot of John Tregidga's departure was the election of new Chairman last week, and believe me, this role is significant in regard to the progressing of the reforms. Liane Ngamane apparently thought that it was a foregone conclusion that as Deputy Chair she would be elected, but 'hold horses' - both Majaury and at least two other iwi members were absent in Wellington fighting the Hauraki v. Tauranga battle over ownership of Tauranga land and resources in the Hauraki Settlement soon to be signed by the Minister.

Liane went down in the event by a substantial margin, and in a huff resigned as Forum deputy chair - a new election will now be held at the next meeting. It is quite significant because if the tribal interests get control of whatever fishing arrangements are put in place, it will almost certainly mean that any applicant for any type of license will require iwi approval. I am sorry, but  that system is simply too wide open for abuse - it is an invitation for corrupt practice similar to that which pervades other aspects of life in this country - naive and opaque. There are unfortunately many in the community who are only too anxious and willing to exploit such systems.

Already iwi interests are endeavouring to secure primary control over the areas allocated for aquaculture so that no matter who wins the tenders still under consideration, they will be able to 'clip the ticket'. This will  become a public relations nightmare before it as all over, particularly as all the various fishing interests begin to realise just how they been 'dudded' in this whole exercise. Never mind the widespead opposition to any form of finfish aquaculture in Gulf - the extent of which has not yet been fully tested.




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