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Benson-Pope’s Fisheries outburst laughable

Phil Heatley MP
National Party Fisheries Spokesman

17 June 2005

Benson-Pope’s Fisheries outburst laughable

Labour’s outburst at National’s fisheries policy is laughable, given that Labour still refuses to release its report on customary fishing abuse because it fears isolating its Maori vote, says National’s Fisheries spokesman, Phil Heatley.

“While David Benson-Pope is busy ranting, frontline fisheries officers still won’t work on some coastlines because they fear for their safety, fish thieves continue to escape justice, and half the paua catch and almost 20% of the crayfish catch remains illegal,” says Mr Heatley.

“National will refocus the Ministry of Fisheries on its core business functions of fisheries advocacy, management, enforcement and prosecution when in government following the election.

“National will increase frontline fishery officer numbers, require effective co-ordination of fisheries officers, Police and Crown Law, and stop the abuse of customary fishing regulations.

Mr Heatley says the issue of marine reserves and protected areas needs resolution.

“Labour’s plan to lock up 10% of the whole marine area is arbitrary and gives little consideration to adverse impacts on fishing communities and the public’s right to fish.

“The Department of Conservation should not have dual roles in marine reserve proposals, and recreational and commercial fishers must have input into any decision-making panel.

“National will also support increases in fisheries research and development. We will revoke the decision to allocate Maori quota caught on the high seas, and will repeal any legislation that introduces a carbon tax on the fishing industry,” says Mr Heatley.

Ends

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