Consultation with Māori
As part of the process of submitting an application to introduce a biological control agent, applicants are required to consult with Māori regarding any possible benefits or risks the proposed introduction may have on Māori culture and well being. Pre- application Māori consultation may be required. A useful checklist to assist with assessing an application for significance to Māori is Potential effects on outcomes of significance to Maori [http://www.epa.govt.nz/Publications/potential_effects_outcomes_significance_maori.pdf].
More advice on Māori engagement can be found at Te Hautu [http://www.epa.govt.nz/te-hautu/Pages/Te%20Hautū.aspx].
The need to consult with Māori on biological control applications
Introductions of biological control agents to New Zealand must be approved, through the EPA, under the HSNO Act. Section 6(d) of the Act [http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1996/0030/latest/DLM382993.html] requires that "the relationship of Māori and their culture and traditions with their ancestral lands, water, sites, wahi tapu [sacred places], valued flora and fauna, and other taonga [treasures]" be taken into account when applications are considered. Section 8 of the Act [http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1996/0030/latest/DLM382997.html] requires that the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti o Waitangi) are also taken into account. According to EPA policy, it is the responsibility of the applicants in the first instance to provide an assessment of risks, costs and benefits of the proposed introduction to Māori. If the proposed introduction is judged to be of significance to Maori, a process of consultation is required, the details and interpretation of which need to be included in the application. The purpose of the consultation process is to recognise and report all the relevant view points in good faith.
Applicants must demonstrate that they have made every effort to consult in a meaningful way with all of the appropriate groups. In considering the application, the EPA obtains advice on the Māori perspective from the EPA's Māori Policy and Operations Group, Kaupapa Kura Taiao. It is important to maintain contact with the Māori groups affected by the Decision after approval has been given, at the very least to provide them with annual updates on relevant activities and progress.
Significance of biological control to Māori
If the biological control agent under consideration has the potential to impact on native species, the natural environment, Māori cultural and spiritual values, or Māori health and well-being then a more detailed consultation process would be encouraged. A discussion with the EPA in the planning stages of the project is the best place to start.
The nature of consultation