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Better on dole doing art than gutting hoki

Phil Heatley MP National Party Fisheries Spokesman

10 September 2005

Better on dole doing art than gutting hoki, say Greens and Labour

The fishing industry is right to be up in arms about statements by Labour and the Greens that people are better off doing art on the dole than gutting hoki, says National's Fisheries spokesman, Phil Heatley.

"The workers who gut hoki each day are the backbone of a billion dollar a year export industry. They do not need these insults from Labour and Green Party politicians," says Mr Heatley.

At an open political forum on arts in Nelson this week, Green Party MP Mike Ward said in response to a question about the dole for artists programme: "It is much better that people with these skills are doing this than gutting hoki".

Labour MP Judith Tizard, immediately following Mr Ward, said she agreed with him and the statements were recorded in the Nelson Mail.

The New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen and the Port Nelson Fishermen's Association yesterday spent more than $1,000 on a half page advertisement demanding an apology from Mr Ward.

"This appalling and elitist statement from the Greens, backed up by Labour, shows the contempt these parties have for hard-working New Zealanders who produce this country's real wealth.

"The Greens and Labour should apologise to the thousands of process fish workers who pay their taxes to fund the dole.

"The rules for artists getting the dole will be the same as everybody else under National," says Mr Heatley.


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