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United New Zealand Welcomes Fishing Decision

United New Zealand leader, Hon Peter Dunne, has welcomed today's decision by the Minister of Finance to revoke the Overseas Investment Commission's powers to decide on the sale of fishing quota to overseas interests.

On 19 November 1999, the previous Government delegated the powers to the Overseas Investment Commission pursuant changes made to fishing legislation in 1998.

There has been controversy in recent weeks about Brierley Investments' plans to sell its fishing quota, and the possibility of an overseas buyer.

"While today's decision does not resolve that issue, and due process still has to be followed, it is nevertheless welcome because it restores direct political accountability for determining the future ownership and management of such a strategic asset."

"Access to the fishery is becoming one of the world's most prized possessions, and many nations are now acting strongly to prevent foreign access to their local fishery and ensure proper management practices."

"South Africa, for example, has just banned completely foreign vessels fishing in its local fishery."

"Many New Zealanders are becoming increasingly concerned that New Zealand quota may end up substantially controlled offshore, and are making their views clearly known," he says.

Mr Dunne says the Government is also clearly concerned about this situation, hence its decision today.

"That is but the first step."

"The best test of the worth of today's decision will be the ultimate outcome the Government allows regarding sale and ownership of the fishing quota."

"Now that the Ministers of Finance and Fisheries have resumed unto themselves the right to determine the fate of the Brierley's quota, all eyes will be upon them to see how they carry out that responsibility," he says.

ENDS


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