Side-lining Nick Smith must be the first step in sorting out the Government's Kermadec debacle, says Labour's Fisheries Spokesperson Rino Tirikatene.
“Last week Labour called for Nick Smith to be removed from further negotiations with Te Ohu Kaimoana over the proposed Kermadec Sanctuary. Smith has spent the past year calling concerns over Maori rights in the Kermadec area 'weak' and 'mistaken'.
“Now the creation of the Sanctuary is delayed because of Nick Smith's heavy-handed arrogance and his wilful ignorance of Treaty settlements.
“We hope that Bill English will take a more conciliatory approach and reach an agreement that respects the full and final fisheries settlement and allows the Kermadec Sanctuary to go ahead.
“But it should never have come to this. This wouldn't have happened had the Government been more aware of the property rights of Maori rather than conjuring up another PR stunt for the Prime Minister.
“Labour supports the creation of the Kermadec Sanctuary but it needs to occur in partnership with Maori, not by arbitrarily extinguishing Treaty rights,” says Rino Tirikatene.