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Government Fails To Properly Consult Fishing Ind.

Media Release - FOR IMMEDIATE USE 10th March 2000


GOVERNMENT FAILS TO PROPERLY CONSULT FISHING INDUSTRY

New Zealand First has called on the Fisheries Minister to properly consult with the fishing industry, as required by law, over changes to the management of a major Southern Fishery.

The Leader, Rt Hon Winston Peters, said today that the Minister, Pete Hodgson, had given the fishing industry only ONE day to make final submissions on the future of the Southern Blue Whiting zone SBW 6.

“In an undated letter sent yesterday, Mr Hodgson asked fishing companies for their views on economic, social, cultural and environmental factors, fishing patterns and relationships between stocks of fish in this zone because of decisions he will be making on the 27th of this month.

“These companies were given only 24 hours to make their final submissions about issues which will have a major impact on the commercial fishing industry.

“This is inconsistent with the provisions of the 1996 Fisheries Act which say consultation must be entered into between the Ministry of Fisheries, the Minister and affected parties.

“I am also concerned that Mr Hodgson is inexplicably refusing to meet fishing industry representatives to discuss catch proposals before making his decisions. This is a significant departure from the normal practice.

“By no stretch of the imagination can this process be described as consultation. It is a sham and the Minister must be forced to comply with the legislation that he and his officials work under,” said Mr Peters.

ENDS

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