Friday, 6 March 2009


This issue on Stuff this morning has the capacity to ignite racial tensions.

We think that this precedent will unnerve the nation as it sets about debating the Foreshore and Seabed legislation.

Ngai Tahu own the Lake Ellesmere lake bed as part of the Ngai Tahu settlement.
They are taxing the eel fishers 8% of the value of the catch which is $360,000 for conservation of the lake. The fishers are also paying to lease eel quota from Ngai Tahu. We think it is a recipe for disaster.

We have some sympathy for Ngai Tahu as the owners they now have responsibilities to maintain their " asset." While we agree that the ownership of the lake bed formed part of the settlement, we just dont think that a regime like this was ever envisaged.

If Ngai Tahu manages the ecological values of the lake bed what is DOC's responsibility re the water and surrounding environs and is Ngai Tahu going to tax farmers for the cost of the damage that run off has caused to the lake and the lake bed??

However Eel fishermen like all fishermen need to recognise that the right to fish comes with responsibilities and that they should be contributing to the ecological upkeep of the lake.

But what are they getting for their $29,000?

Are farmers next?

However it should be noted that Lake Taupo's Tuwharetoa, derives income from Trout fishing permits in Lake Taupo. They own the lake bed and get 50% of the licence fees.

What is interesting here is they are getting money for the recreational harvest of a non native species Trout.

Ngai Tahu is extracting 8% from fishermen who are already paying to lease quota of a native species of which DOC has a responsibility to manage as well.

And we know our wise friend at SEAFIC doesn't scare easy. Nici Gibbs says that fishing rights and interests were not protected when the deal was done.
In a briefing paper to the Lake Ellesmere fishermen, Seafood Industry Council policy manager Nici Gibbs described the situation as "very scary".

She said the Crown, in dealing with foreshore and seabed-type issues, had failed to protect fishing industry rights and interests when settling Maori grievances.

We agree. One of the key principles of Treaty settlements has been that they be established without impacting on commercial interests or creating further grievances.

It appears that this has not happened.

UPDATE : the Christchurch Press has more background here

UPDATE 2 Lambcut seems to think we know feck all about things agrarian. Thats true. So here's what she says:

Blogger LAMBCUT said...


Lambcut thinks BB could be in danger of divisive scaremongering herself by stating farmers have caused run off damage to the Ellesmere Lake and lake bed. Lambcut is not aware of any intensive farming systems operating in the Banks Peninsula area that could cause significant run off problems. The land there is extensively farmed by topographical and climatic necessity; it cannot lend itself to intensive systems. Furthermore, due to the high conservation value placed on the area, there are generous riparian margins around the waterways there. Even in other regions where intensive systems are employed, such generous margins greatly reduce the possibility of significant run off damage occurring.


LAMBCUT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Watermannz said...

The consent for the commercial fishing activity on the Lake was given by Ngai Tahu when they signed the settlement which recognised the legitimacy of the NZ fisheries management regime.

The recent decision to extort an access fee is indefensible in those circumstances.