Where the main parties stand on co-governance of the Hauraki Gulf

September 1, 2023
Gulf Users' Group

Many of us are opposed to the co-governance of the Hauraki Gulf and believe that decisions relating to the Gulf must be fair, transparent, and democratic, with all decision-makers accountable to the public. This being so, we asked the main political parties about their stance on co-governance of the Gulf. Please see their responses below (listed alphabetically):


“The Government’s plan to roll out more fishing reserves will be welcomed by some, but it shouldn’t be used to smuggle in a co-governance agenda,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

Revitalising the Gulf is the latest example of the Government’s drive to give power to people based on who their grandparents were through co-governance.

“A fishing reserve is not a cultural construct, it’s just a place where fishing is banned to give fish a chance. There is no need for special Māori knowledge. We can all see that if you stop catching fish in certain areas there will be more of them.

“Not only is co-management unnecessary, it is divisive. It can only mean that some people will get a greater say, and perhaps greater rights according to who their grandparents were.

“There is no doubt there will be a rahui here and a customary catch there, meaning reserves are not created equal for all people.

“Fish don’t do race. The protection of the Hauraki Gulf should be based on good science to maximise fishing opportunities for all New Zealanders.

“ACT supports marine reserves, but allowing some Māori to customary take in a fishing reserve makes the policy more about race than fishing.”

Green Party

Thanks for getting in touch regarding co-governance of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Currently, the Green Party’s main focus is to restore the health of the Gulf by banning the most ecologically harmful and destructive commercial fishing practices such as bottom trawling and dredging. We don’t currently have any policy relating specifically to co-governance for the marine park, and believe the priority right now is to ensure that the gulf can have its health restored.   

That said, the Green Party is a Te Tiriti based party which advocates for the upholding of Tino Rangatiratanga for tangata whenua. Going forward, we would like to see more focus on kaitiakitanga and co-governance of natural resources for iwi and hapū, recognising their unique relationships with our natural environment and the important contribution that matauranga Maori can make.   The Hauraki Forum has for several years had co-chairs one being a tangata whenua representative and one a council representative. That has strengthened the way the Forum has operated.   Having a strong te Ao Māori perspective in governance enriches our management of nature and ways of working together.


Co-governance arrangements are a form of partnership with groups of special standing or expertise. They are about governments working together with communities, experts or other partners to provide direction over a sphere of shared interest to achieve better outcomes. They have taken many forms and have been used to get the best outcomes for our land, resources and for our communities.

Co-governance is a way for us to come together for a collective goal.

The relationship between Māori and the Crown continues to evolve and strengthen, and this means we’ll continue to be called on to give effect to Treaty obligations and shared outcomes that we are seeking to achieve as a nation.


We are not releasing our Hauraki Gulf policy at this stage.  That will come closer to the election.

New Zealand First 

In 2005 New Zealand First, from opposition, presented the policy solution to the then Helen Clark led Labour government in the form of the Foreshore and Seabed Act, which arose from the Marlborough case presided over by Judge Hingston.  Sadly, the John Key National led government repealed that legislation, in favour of the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 - a disastrous change which has led to hundreds of claims for the coastline of New Zealand and indeed the development of the subject of your email to me.  

We are against co-governance, and we will do all in our power to repeal the 2011 legislation and restore the 2005 legislation.

This country has become the victim of a separatist political agenda, sadly subscribed to by a number of political parties with an appalling understanding of our history and constitutional construct.  Which means that New Zealand has reached an inflection point where, if these matters are not immediately resolved after the 2023 election, the downward spiral of this country with two standards of citizenship, will be a continuing inevitability.

Te Pāti Māori/ Māori Party

No reply, even after three requests for a response.

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