Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated Chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana is concerned for 150 workers at Hawkes Bay Seafoods after a raid on the organisation yesterday.
No stone was left unturned, employee phones were confiscated by investigative officers, worrying employees they may be out of a job.
Compliance officers and police raided company sites in the greater Hawke's Bay area, Wellington, Tauranga, Gisborne, Chatham Islands and Christchurch.
In a statement, Tomoana said, "Hawke's Bay Seafoods owned by the D'Esposito family has been a valuable contributor to the economy and to the welfare of our people.”
For the last four years on a year-by-year basis, Hawke's Bay Seafood has an agreement with the iwi where they can purchasing the iwi's annual catch entitlement of around 1000 tonnes of mixed in shore species, in return they provide employment and training for the iwi.
While Ngāti Kahungunu Inc does not currently have any stakes in Hawke's Bay Seafood, this year, the asset holding arm of the iwi has agreed to extend their current agreement with them to five years, and could look at taking an equity stake in the company at some point in the future, but for now that's on hold.
Ngāhiwi Tomoana goes on to say, “We support sustainable fishing practices and we hope this matter is sorted out quickly so our people can go into the new fishing season starting October 1st with confidence that they will have job security up to Christmas and beyond.”