New Deed of Settlement for Lake Taupō

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The Crown today signed a new deed of settlement with the Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board regarding Lake Taupō.

New Deed of Settlement for Lake Taupō
Monday, 10 September 2007, 4:32 pm
Press Release: New Zealand Government
Hon Parekura Horomia
Minister of Māori Affairs
Hon Chris Carter
Minister of Conservation
Hon Mark Burton
Minister of Local Government
10 September, 2007
Media Statement
EMBARGO 4.30pm

The Crown today signed a new deed of settlement with the Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board regarding Lake Taupō.

The deed updates a 1992 deed which vested ownership of the bed of Lake Taupō – including the Waikato River to Huka Falls and tributaries flowing into the lake – with the Board while guaranteeing public access.

Since 1926, the Crown paid Tūwharetoa an annuity and a share of revenue from things such as trout fishing licences and boating facilities. But the value of the annuity decreased over time and the Crown and the Board wanted to clarify rights under the 1992 deed.

The new deed includes a one-off, lump sum payment of approximately $9.85 million plus an annual, non-reviewable payment of $1.5 million. The lump sum compensates the Board for increases it would have been entitled to in perpetuity under previous arrangements.

The Board will also have the right to licence commercial users of the lake and new Crown and private structures. It has already entered into an agreement with at least one commercial operator.

Māori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia said he was pleased matters left outstanding from the 1992 settlement had been resolved.

“Under the agreement the trust board’s rights on a number of fronts have been clarified, including in regard to commercial tourism operators where the board will have the ability to charge fees similar to those charged by DoC on Crown land.”

Conservation Minister Chris Carter said the Crown would continue to own and manage the trout fishery.

“This is a significant document which will lead to a stronger and clearer relationship between the Crown and Tūwharetoa while continuing to protect public access to the lake in perpetuity,” Mr Carter said.
Local Government Minister and Taupō MP Mark Burton welcomed the signing saying: “I’m pleased to see that the discussions have resulted in a deed which provides clarity for tourist operators, the Crown and other users of Lake Taupō.”

New agreement between the Crown and Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board

Why were the negotiations entered into?
The negotiations were entered into in order to clarify the meaning, rights and interests of the Crown, TMTB and public under the 1992 deed.

How long have the negotiations been going for?
The negotiations were entered into in late 2005. Coming to a broad agreement was relatively quick, and much of the last year has been making sure the details are correct.

Is this a Treaty settlement?
This is not a Treaty settlement, but a clarification of property rights provided in the 1992 deed and simplification of the payment by the Crown for use of the Lake for fishing and boating facilities under the Māori Trust Boards Act 1955.

Why was a new agreement required?
The new agreement simplifies and clarifies the position and interests of the Crown, TMTB and public, including clarifying the ownership interests of the structures and use rights, particularly the Crown’s ownership and management of the trout fishing and structures for boating and navigation and the way in which payment is to be made to the TMTB under the Māori Trust Boards Act 1955.

What are the key points in the deed?
The new deed clarifies the ownership of “Taupō Waters” which was agreed in the 1992 deed. Taupō waters includes the bed of, subsoil and space occupied by water in, and the airspace above Lake Taupō, including the Waikato river to Huka Falls and the tributaries that flow into Lake Taupō. Taupō Waters does not include the water itself.

The deed continues to provide that the people of New Zealand will have freedom of entry and access upon Taupō Waters for non-exclusive, non-commercial recreational use and enjoyment. It also provides that the Lake will be managed as if a recreation reserve, including the continuation of the Taupō-nui-a-Tia Management Board.

The deed acknowledges the agreement that the Crown continue to manage and own the trout fishery and structures it currently owns such as berthings, moorings and navigational aids. It also acknowledges the right of the Crown to control and legislate in respect of water including its use and quality, public safety, public health, navigation and recreation.

The deed also provides that commercial users of the Lake, such as commercial boat operators and fishing guides, will require a licence from the TMTB which also has the ability to charge fees, and new structures will require a licence or grant of occupation from the TMTB. This is similar to the Department of Conservation granting a concession for business owners to operate on public land.

What is the Crown’s payment for?
The Crown and the TMTB, as trustees on behalf of the Tūwharetoa iwi and hapū, have, since 1926, shared the revenues from activities such as fishing and boating facilities. Under the new deed, the Crown will pay a fixed amount for the use and occupation of the Lake, and for past and current annuity and other financial issues.
The Crown will pay $9.865 million (the final figure is subject to change depending on the date of settlement) as a lump sum payment and $1.5 million a year. The Crown will continue to own and manage the structures that it currently owns, such as berthings, moorings, marinas, jetties, boat ramps and navigation aids and rent to the Board for the space occupied is included within the $1.5 million annual payment.

If the Crown wishes to build a new structure, it will need consent from the Board which will be able to charge fees (unless the new structures are in the nature of public good facilities e.g. navigation aids).

What effect is there on recreational users of the lake, including fishing and boating?
There will be no change in the regime for private, non-commercial recreational users of the lake or for fishing and boating. The TMTB continue, as they have since 1926, to guarantee access to the public of New Zealand. Fishing will continue to be managed through the Department of Conservation and Boating through the Harbour Master and Department of Internal Affairs.

Will owners of private jetties, ramps and other structures be affected?
No. The deed clarifies that there are 91 privately owned jetties, ramps moorings and other structures on the Lake. The owners will not be required to pay fees to the TMTB for occupation of the Lake for these structures. However, any new structures or changes to existing structures may require a grant of occupation from the TMTB who may also charge a fee.

Does the deed recognise the role of Local Authorities?
Yes. The deed acknowledges the role of Local Authorities, particularly in relation to land use consents and water permits or discharge permits, and that Taupō Waters are subject to relevant enactments, including the Resource Management Act 1991

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