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Heavy rain prediction puts recovering Franz Josef on edge

Civil Defence is ready to 'spring into action' in Westland tonight if predicted heavy rain causes the Waiho River to breach its banks once again.

Last month the river broke through a breakwater, destroying the Scenic Hotel, and flooding other properties just north of Franz Josef.

Over 200 people had to be evacuated from the area in the middle of the night.

Westland Civil Defence controller Andy Thompson says with 200mm of rain forecast tonight, volunteers are on alert, with updated evacuation plans ready to activate if the need arises.

The Waiho river bust its bank and a state of emergency was announced. Source: 1 NEWS

He says new flood protection put in place after the March flood has held up under heavy rainfall already.

However, he says "we are very aware of the potential for flooding, and everyone's ready if required to spring into action".

Franz Josef is gearing up for more rain this weekend just a week after it was devastated by floods. Source: 1 NEWS

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Te Ohu Kaimoana and Maoridom big wigs join forces to fight for fishing rights in Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary

Te Ohu Kaimoana has rolled out a high-powered group of deckhands this morning to help them fight to keep fishing rights in the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary.

The group included Dames Tariana Turia and Iritana Tawhiwhirangi, ex-MP Koro Wetere and three Sirs - Toby Curtis, Mark Solomon and Tipene O'Regan.

The Kermadec Islands will soon be home to an ocean sanctuary twice the size of New Zealand’s land mass.
Source: 1 NEWS

They argue the Government's proposal "extinguishes and expropriates Māori and iwi fishing rights despite biodiversity already being protected from fishing".

Those fishing rights go back to the 1992 Sealords Treaty settlement.

Sir Tipene O'Regan said it was irritating to be bought out of "properly deserved semi-retirement" to fight about an issue he thought had been put to bed in 1992, when the settlement was done.

He was one of the original negotiators for Maori commercial fishing rights enshrined in the 1992 Treaty settlement.

When he started the commercial discussions in the late 1980s, the level of debate was that Maori could go fishing but they'd have to do it with bone fishhooks and flax nets.

"I joke you not that was the language being used."

Having signed the deal – he thought that was it. Until the government announced the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary.

Environmental groups are lobbying the government to create one of the world's largest marine reserves in the remote Kermadec region. Source: 1 NEWS

The sanctuary means iwi who haven't fished in the past 10 years but had the right through treaty quota won't be able to fish there.

"We find ourselves in this situation where that right to develop has been universally overruled by the New Zealand government, and as a result of foreign investment and the ideological absolutist dictates of overseas lobbies telling us how to best govern ourselves."

He was referring to but did not name the American lobby group Pew which has been working on the issue for several years.

Sir Tipene said Maori were up for the High Court action Te Ohu Kaimoana – which represents iwi fishing interests.

TVNZ is seeking a response from the government.