23 Oct 2012

Irony in Sealord deal celebration as Maori go to court

8:19 pm on 23 October 2012

The former chairman of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission says it's ironic that as 20 years since signing the Sealord Deal is celebrated, Maori are in court fighting for water rights.

A reception was held in Parliament on Tuesday night to celebrate 20 years since the signing of the Deed of Settlement on Fisheries between Maori and the Crown, otherwise known as the Sealord Deal.

Last week, the Maori Council filed papers in the High Court challenging the Government's decision to partially privatise some state-owned hydro power generators.

Labour MP Shane Jones is the former chairman of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission. He says Tuesday's celebration is an acknowledgement of the passage of time and a reminder that the position of Maori in the fishing industry has improved.

But he also says the quest for establishing the extent of residual Maori rights in natural resources is going to go on.

Government ministers, both past and present, officials and iwi leaders attended the reception.