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Published: 2003-11-05 00:00:00

Waikato iwi want a share of money collected from any coastal occupation charges which may be imposed by Environment Waikato.

Environment Waikato met with Hauraki and Coromandel iwi last month to discuss whether it should charge for occupation of the Coastal Marine Area.

All regional councils are required to make a decision on whether they will charge for occupation of the sea by activities such as moorings, marine farms, jetties and marinas. Environment Waikato is asking for people’s views on whether it should charge a form of ‘rental’ for using public areas for private uses.

Chairman Neil Clarke told this week’s Council meeting that those present at the Hauraki meeting believed any charge for coastal occupation was their business, and in terms of sovereignty they were not willing to deal with the issue. They believed they should receive any money, or if that was not possible then they should receive 50 percent of the money collected.
“They believe that no-one else has any rights in terms of sovereignty. The whole issue is shadowed by the foreshore and seabed ownership issue.”

He said the Council had a very good relationship with the Hauraki Maori Trust Board, which had not been damaged by raising the coastal occupation charging issue. He questioned how much importance could be attached to talking about charging for occupying space until the foreshore issue was settled, but it was useful to get iwi reaction to the proposal.

Environment Waikato is talking to a number of groups with an interest in the issue.

Policy Group Manager Jeanette Black said the use of money collected from occupation charges was defined by the legislation, and the broad definition was sustainable development in the coastal marine area. The Council was already required to have made a decision, but was making sure that it gathered everyone’s views thoroughly first.

Many parties had an interest in the coastal charging issue and the Council needed to hear more views before it made a decision on whether to proceed with a charging regime or not.