Paraone: Address to Recreational Fishing Council
14 July 2006
New Zealand First Address to the New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council – Pita Paraone MP
Thank you for your invitation to speak to this body which represents such an integral part of New Zealand culture.
Two points must be made at the outset. As you can see, I am not the Rt Hon Winston Peters, who has long attended your conferences and been a strong advocate for your cause.
Unfortunately, the demands of ministerial office mean he is unable to be here, but he does send his best wishes and regards.
I ask that you please accept me as a humble substitute.
The second point that must be made totally clear from the outset is that despite what some of the ill informed pundits have said, New Zealand First is not in coalition with Labour, we are not part of the government, but we do have a supply and confidence agreement with them which will ensure that New Zealand will have stability over the next two and half years.
I raise this because I don’t want this audience to be under the misapprehension that I am here representing the government or its policy.
I am here representing New Zealand First and our policy and that is quite different from the government's.
Let me give you an example of where our policy is quite different from the governments.
As you are aware the government some time ago included kahawai in the QMS.
Some of you may be involved in the judicial review being undertaken to have it removed from the QMS.
New Zealand First has always maintained, and continues to believe that kahawai do not belong in the QMS.
We believe that the government got it wrong on this issue and that it has hurt both recreational and commercial fishers through the process that it undertook in placing kahawai in the QMS.
We also take issue with the growing power of the Department of Conservation in setting up, controlling, and managing marine reserves throughout New Zealand.
The Aotea or Great Barrier Marine Reserve is a classic example, so is the Rimariki Islands between Whananaki and Whangaruru in the North.
In many ways we believe the government’s approach effectively amounts to a confiscation of recreational space, and the establishment of areas from which recreational fishers are excluded.
Now we in New Zealand First are not opposed to marine reserves per se, but we have serious questions about the process the government is engaged in when setting them up and managing them.
Marine reserves must be a natural development, in which all affected parties, including recreational fishers, are consulted and included in the development and management.
The alternative model of imposition by DOC, with limited consultation, where DOC essentially consults itself about establishing and managing these areas is wrong.
We say any evaluation of a proposed marine reserve must be conducted independently of DOC, where all parties are involved in the development of the proposal.
You have asked me to address our fisheries policy.
What do we believe in?
First and foremost are the sustainable management of the fisheries, and the strict policing of the resource.
All three “stakeholders” in the fishery: commercial fishers, recreational fishers, and Maori with traditional customary rights must be acknowledged by statute.
More resources need to be applied to investigating and apprehend poachers.
There are too many recreational fishers, Maori and dare I say it, Asians involved in what amounts to commercial fishing without a licence. A poacher is a poacher – whether the guise be customary rights or recreational fishing. Customary fishers need to remember that their rights are actually a privilege, and those who abuse it are in jeopardy of that privilege being removed.
We believe that there must be greater research on recreational, customary and commercial fisheries to ensure sustainability.
And there MUST be clear definitions of sustainable levels of fish stocks as a result of this research as well as an agreed regime to maintain these.
New Zealand First considers that saltwater fishing is a birthright of all New Zealanders and should not be licensed. (Freshwater anglers are different. Fish and Game Councils work with acclimatised stocks and have to manage their resources on a limited scale and in a limited area but licensing saltwater anglers would create another funding and policy bureaucracy).
The whole thrust of Fisheries Management is to ensure the conservation of ALL species.
Each stakeholder (traditional, commercial and recreational) has a basic responsibility to stick to the rules and a right to participate in their development.
It is the Government’s job to oversee this process and to police it.
New Zealand First wants to ensure that the public, and in particular those with a vested interest, are involved in the setting of catch limits, environmental controls and management strategies.
We want to see a review of current fisheries consultation processes to ensure that public consultation on fisheries issues is meaningful and encourages effective communication and collaborative problem solving.
As I stated at the outset, New Zealand First sees fishing, recreational, commercial and customary, as part of who we are as New Zealanders, and we will always fight to keep it that way.