PM and deputy dampening fires globally and at home

EDITORIAL

While Prime Minister John Key flew into a diplomatic furore in New York, his deputy and the Government’s safest pair of hands Bill English was left with an equally tricky situation here.

Key is in New York for the traditional leader’s week just as a diplomatic row has erupted between Russia and the US, after an air strike on Syrian army soldiers. A special meeting of the UN Security Council, which New Zealand temporarily heads, has been called — and that in a city shocked by a series of bombings.

Here in New Zealand English was acting to resolve the situation that has arisen over the proposed Kermadec sanctuary, which has seen Te Ohu Kaimoana, representing Maori fishing interests, take High Court action.

Te Ohu Kaimoana has the support of Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou. While accepting that conservation measures are important and should be considered, the runanganui says it is equally important to honour Treaty of Waitangi rights and settlements made that recognise Maori property rights. The sanctuary will extinguish Maori fishing rights in the area and is a clear breach of the government’s commitments to its Treaty partner, the runanganui says.

The Maori Party is prepared to walk away from the Government over this issue.

English told Radio New Zealand that concessions will need to be made, countering the comments of Environment Minister Nick Smith that he would not change how the consultation was carried out if he had the time again.

The original announcement of the Kermadec sanctuary, which at 620,000 square kilometres would be one of the world’s largest, was made by Key at the United Nations in New York a year ago — and caught Maori by surprise.

The Government’s goal will be to prevent the Kermadecs becoming its own foreshore and seabed issue. It will not be easy, but many people will hope a compromise can be reached that will confirm the creation of a vast marine sanctuary that is home to a wide range of marine species and is one of the most geologically diverse areas in the world.

While Prime Minister John Key flew into a diplomatic furore in New York, his deputy and the Government’s safest pair of hands Bill English was left with an equally tricky situation here.

Key is in New York for the traditional leader’s week just as a diplomatic row has erupted between Russia and the US, after an air strike on Syrian army soldiers. A special meeting of the UN Security Council, which New Zealand temporarily heads, has been called — and that in a city shocked by a series of bombings.

Here in New Zealand English was acting to resolve the situation that has arisen over the proposed Kermadec sanctuary, which has seen Te Ohu Kaimoana, representing Maori fishing interests, take High Court action.

Te Ohu Kaimoana has the support of Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou. While accepting that conservation measures are important and should be considered, the runanganui says it is equally important to honour Treaty of Waitangi rights and settlements made that recognise Maori property rights. The sanctuary will extinguish Maori fishing rights in the area and is a clear breach of the government’s commitments to its Treaty partner, the runanganui says.

The Maori Party is prepared to walk away from the Government over this issue.

English told Radio New Zealand that concessions will need to be made, countering the comments of Environment Minister Nick Smith that he would not change how the consultation was carried out if he had the time again.

The original announcement of the Kermadec sanctuary, which at 620,000 square kilometres would be one of the world’s largest, was made by Key at the United Nations in New York a year ago — and caught Maori by surprise.

The Government’s goal will be to prevent the Kermadecs becoming its own foreshore and seabed issue. It will not be easy, but many people will hope a compromise can be reached that will confirm the creation of a vast marine sanctuary that is home to a wide range of marine species and is one of the most geologically diverse areas in the world.

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