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Plan leaves fishers high and dry

Phil Heatley National Fisheries Spokesman

19 November 2002

Plan leaves fishers high and dry

The National Party is accusing the Fisheries Minister of putting hard working fishers out of business with decisions surrounding the paddle crab and pilchard industry.

"Small businesses like the award winning Waikanae Crabs, who've worked their guts out over the last eight years to create a successful enterprise, were effectively destroyed as from October the 1st," says National Fisheries spokesman Phil Heatley.

The system adopted by Pete Hodgson essentially puts the lion's share of quota on the open market for tender and out of reach for the ordinary fishing business.

"These keen entrepreneurs, who've built the fishery from the ground up, are locked out of the process because they can't afford to be involved. "It's absurd that he's allocated quota based on figures that are now 10 years old and gathered when the fishery was in its infancy.

"The situation's changed dramatically since then, and by adopting the rules he has, Pete Hodgson has consigned dozens of hard working people to the dole queue," says Mr Heatley.

"The Minister had a choice and he's admitted it in High Court affidavits, the Appeal Court has agreed, and even the Ministry of Fisheries has documented a range of options" Mr Heatley says.

"Why is the Minister not providing a preferential tendering regime based on recent catch history so those paddle crab and pilchard fishers can afford to purchase quota and stay in business?" Mr Heatley asked in Parliament this afternoon.

"I'm calling on the Minister to rectify the problem by making that $8.5 million worth of quota available to the small fishers so they can stay in the business they developed," Mr Heatley says.


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