Delivering the settlement
The Māori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act 2004 (Settlement Act) provides for the full and final settlement of Māori commercial aquaculture claims since 21 September 1992. The Settlement Act requires the Crown to provide settlement assets to Te Ohu Kaimoana Trustee Limited (the Trustee) for distribution to Iwi Aquaculture Organisations (which are defined in section 33 of the Settlement Act).
Assets provided under this settlement must be equivalent to 20% of aquaculture space. The settlement has been delivered in 3 parts:
- The pre-commencement space settlement related to marine farming space applied for between 21 September 1992 and 31 December 2004, and involved the Crown paying cash settlement for growth that had occurred before the Settlement was decided.
- Under an interim settlement phase from 2004 to 2011, iwi received a share of new aquaculture space within "aquaculture management areas" established by councils.
- Under the current "new space" settlement regime, the Crown must provide iwi with settlement assets equivalent to 20% of the value of all new marine farming space created after 1 October 2011. This phase requires the Crown to deliver assets on an ongoing basis, ahead of growth occurring. It uses a forecast of anticipated growth so that iwi receive assets up front as a more usable package, rather than incrementally as growth occurs over time.
The Crown's settlement obligations are settled by region, based on regional council and unitary authority boundaries.
Settlements are usually made under regional agreements between the Iwi Aquaculture Organisations that represent a region, the Crown and the Trustee. Regional agreements can deliver assets in a number of forms, including as authorisations to apply to use aquaculture space, the cash equivalent value of that space, or as another benefit agreed between the Crown, iwi and Trustee.
Settlement assets can also be delivered through default provisions in the Settlement Act if a regional agreement cannot be reached. In this case, the assets are transferred to the Trustee without requiring iwi to reach a regional agreement.
The Māori Commercial Aquaculture Settlement New Space Plan
The Settlement Act requires the Crown to prepare a plan in consultation with the Trustee and iwi that sets out how the Crown will deliver the aquaculture settlement. This "new space plan" sets out a forecast of where aquaculture growth is expected to happen up to 2035, and a methodology for valuing that space, to identify the Crown's settlement obligations to iwi in a particular region.
The Settlement Act requires that the new space plan is periodically reviewed, and a review is underway. We will engage iwi aquaculture organisations and recognised iwi organisations on the draft review and implementation of the recommendations, before publishing an updated new space plan. To assist with this review, we commissioned an independent evaluation of the new space regime. Information about that evaluation follows.
Independent evaluation of the new space regime
In 2019 the Government’s Aquaculture Strategy committed to an independent evaluation of the benefits of the aquaculture settlement. This independent evaluation was undertaken assess whether improved mechanisms could better advance Crown and iwi aspirations. It was undertaken in 2020.
The overarching objectives for the independent evaluation were:
- ascertain Crown and iwi intent and aspirations for the aquaculture settlement
- identify the implementation outputs achieved to date
- assess whether those outputs are aligned with the outcomes and aspirations
- identify the benefits and shortcomings of current mechanisms and outputs
- consider whether improved mechanisms and outputs could better advance Crown and iwi outcomes and aspirations, taking into account expected new space aquaculture developments (including those in the Aquaculture Strategy)
- suggest recommendations for improvements to:
- advance Crown and iwi outcomes and aspirations
- improve outputs
- maximise benefits
- overcome barriers for future successful delivery of the new space settlement mechanisms.
The recommendations align well with Fisheries New Zealand's and Te Ohu Kaimoana's thinking and will be addressed through the review of the new space plan.
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