New Space Obligation
New Space is defined as space that, after the commencement of the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Amendment Act 2011 (the Amendment Act), first becomes subject to a coastal permit to occupy the coastal space for the purpose of aquaculture activities.
The Crown’s obligations related to new space are yet to be settled. The Crown must ensure that the Takutai Trust, who is acting on behalf of iwi, is provided with settlement assets that are representative of 20% of new space. Where possible, the space provided should be of economic size, and representative of:
- Each farming type covered by the rules in the relevant council plan;
- The overall productivity capacity of the new space.
This representative space needs to be provided in one or more of the following ways:
- The provision of exclusive authorisations to apply to occupy space in the coastal marine area for the purpose of aquaculture activities and a top-up payment (difference between applying for a resource consent under the old and new regimes);
- The payment of a financial equivalent of that space;
- Entering into one or more regional agreements under section 10 of the Amendment Act.
New Space Regional Agreements
The new settlement regime provides the framework for the iwi of a region (based on Regional Council boundaries) and the Crown to agree on a regional aquaculture agreement that looks forward and agree the iwi share of expected development for a future period ie up to 20 years.
In this sense the settlement is prospective and therefore represents an innovative step to resolve the Crown’s new space settlement obligations.
The Crown must use its best endeavours to negotiate and enter into regional agreements with iwi in Northland, Waikato East, Tasman and Marlborough. These regional agreements were due, 2 years after the commencement of the Amendment Act. However, an extension to this timeframe was sought and approved by the Minister for Primary Industries. The new date is now 30 June 2014.
For other regions it is a requirement that regional agreements are completed 3 years after the Amendment Act or within 2 years after the receipt of the first resource consent application for the purpose of aquaculture activities after the commencement of the Amendment Act.
The role of Takutai Trust is to facilitate the development of the regional agreement between iwi and the Crown. Currently Takutai Trust is working with priority regions on the development of their regional agreements. If you have any questions please do hesitate to contact us on 04 931 9500.
If regional agreements are not reached in the appropriate timeframe, the Settlement Act includes a default settlement option that involves the transfer of settlement authorisations from the gazetted aquaculture settlement areas to the trustee. If insufficient authorisations are available a financial equivalent will be transferred to the trustee as settlement of the Crown’s new space obligations.
Regional council responsibilities
Under s.165K of the Resource Management Act 1991 the Governor-General (at the request of the Minister of Conservation) may direct a regional council whose regional coastal plan or any proposed regional coastal plan provides for a rule in relation to a method of allocating authorisations for space in a common marine and coastal area to provide the trustee with 20% of the authorisation (representative space). This means that regional councils will need to consider the 20% allocation for the settlement during their marine spatial planning. When developing any “go zones” for aquaculture, regional councils should consider and plan for which 20% of the zone will be used for the settlement. The selected space must be representative. The regional council will not receive any income from the tendering of the allocated area nor will any cost be imposed onto the trustee for the transfer of the authorisations.
Gazetting Aquaculture Management Areas
Powers have been given to the Minister for Primary Industries to gazette space in the coastal marine area to create Aquaculture Settlement Areas to provide future settlement options. This power is used to secure space for settlement purposes, mitigating risk that private interests have first access to better aquaculture space while regional agreements are being negotiated.
Notifying space under Gazette notices does not change current uses or rules, but it does stop private interests from applying for resource consent to carry out aquaculture activities. It also prevents regional authorities from consenting other activities that might impact on future aquaculture activities.
Gazette notices are not a replacement for negotiated regional settlements. Gazette notices are initially a way of ensuring that some appropriate space has been set aside so that negotiations can be meaningful.
Planning for ongoing delivery of the settlement
The Minister for Primary Industries must, by 31 December 2012, must have started preparing a plan for the ongoing delivery of settlement obligations. This plan, developed in consultation with the trustee and iwi, will outline the Crown’s progress in terms of meeting the new space settlement obligations and the processes and methods for maintaining the settlement in to the future.