Thursday October 19, 2017   Last updated 03:54AM
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Smith smackdown over fishing rights
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Te Arawa leader Sir Toby Curtis says Environment Minister Nick Smith is talking nonsense about the proposed Kermadec ocean sanctuary.

Sir Toby was one of a group of senior Maori who gathered yesterday to support Te Ohu Kaimoana’s High Court challenge to the sanctuary, which will extinguish Maori quota over 620,000 square kilometers of ocean northeast of New Zealand.

Dr Smith says Maori they are ignoring the need for leadership in marine conservation - that’s despite the fact Maori led the move a decade ago to turn the same area into a benthic protection zone with no trawling or dredging allowed.

He says they are also overstating the impacts in respect of fishery and Treaty settlement obligations, and the fact Maori have not fished the area since the settlement means they have no case.

Sir Toby says it’s a clear breach of the 1992 Maori fisheries settlement and a denial of the Maori development right.

"Because we don’t farm certain land we have doesn't mean they can take it away from us. It's the same argument for the Kermadecs, if you haven't used it for what you can use it for, that doesn't give anyone the right to take it away from you," he says.

Sir Toby says the crown made a full and final settlement with Maori on fishing rights, and the Government can’t change it on a whim.

SIR TOBY CURTIS INTERVIEW

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