Acting Prime Minister Bill English has conceded – sort of – that they way the Government handled to Kermadec sanctuary proposal was deficient. he said “”I think if you did it again you might do it a bit differently”.
If the government had its time again it would do things differently on the creation of a Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says.
Mr English said there had not been as much consultation as the Māori fisheries entity Te Ohu Kaimoana wanted to see so the legislative process was put on hold while the government considered ongoing negotiations with the Māori Party.
Though it was a government support party, the Māori Party was advocating strong views, so the negotiations were not the government ‘talking to itself’, he told Morning Report.
“Certainly in the nearer future we’ll be … going back over the ground with the Māori Party to make sure everyone understands each other’s objectives and we get reasonably clear about what the trade-offs [are] here.
“But I think in the long run we haven’t come across anyone who doesn’t want this sanctuary to be in place – it’s really the conditions on which it’s in place.”
As a general principle New Zealand has accepted that in the conservation or preservation of land or sea there was some “trimming of rights”.
“I think there’s a case to argue that there could have been a different track for how the issue was discussed with them but I think we’ve all got to deal with reality.
“If we want conservation of and or sea resource for environmental purposes then we’ve got to balance that against property rights.
Mr English said the circumstances meant the government proceeded a bit differently than it usually did, and that had helped create a situation where it didn’t get agreement of all parties concerned.
“I think if you did it again you might do it a bit differently,” he said.
The disagreements might in principle look difficult to resolve but he was confident there would be a way through.
“In practice … we have found in New Zealand solutions to reasonably challenging issues to do with Māori interests and there’s no reason why we can’t in this case.”
That’s fairly long winded but I think it can be summarised as ‘we stuffed up, we’ll try and get it right this time’.
The government is restarting discussions with the Māori Party to see whether it will support the bill.
I expect the will put more effort into doing it right this time.