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Union Advises Fishery Officers To Avoid East Coast

Saturday 13 August 2005

Union Advises Fishery Officers To Avoid North Of Tolaga Bay

“The Union representing fishery officers yesterday advised all fishery officers to avoid any enforcement work relating to the East Coast area north of Tolaga Bay until further notice,” said Martin Cooney, Organiser of the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) today.

He was commenting on a circular on health and safety sent by NUPE concerning the increased risk to Fisheries Officers in the area north of Tolaga Bay. “A risk assessment carried out for MFish by an outside specialist reported in late 2004 that Fisheries Officers in the area faced high risk of long term health consequences including death. The circular advised that the Union considered that the risk level has now been raised to extreme level.”

“Organised crime is heavily involved in poaching, black market operations and ‘P’ in the area north of Tolaga Bay. To add to this, there have been media and other reports of increased gang activity in part related to the recent murder of a Black Power member in Gisborne. Most New Zealanders will have seen reports of the Maori sovereignty issues raised by Sue Nikora,” said Martin Cooney.

“Because of the high level of risk and the inability to protect and remove themselves from dangerous attacks, the Union has advised Fishery Officers in Gisborne and other stations not to go into the area north of Tolaga Bay,” said Martin Cooney.

“The Government has not provided defensive capability such as retractable batons and pepper spray and must therefore take responsibility for this no go area developing.”

ENDS

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