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Fisheries bureaucrats up, prosecutions down

Phil Heatley MP
National Party Fisheries Spokesman

08 January 2008

Fisheries bureaucrats up, prosecutions down

The number of bureaucrats sitting behind desks at the Ministry of Fisheries in Wellington is growing while the number of people being nabbed for poaching is down, says National's Fisheries spokesman, Phil Heatley.

"Latest figures show that the number of defendants facing fisheries offences has dropped by 35% from 370 in 2002 to 239 in 2007.

"In addition, the number of infringement notices that have been issued has plummeted 43% from 2,265 to 1,490 over the same period.

"It is no co-incidence that these figures follow a steady decline in the number of Honorary Fisheries Officers under Labour. Beach patrols have dropped with the gutting of this service by 30% from 246 officers in 2002 to 170 in 2007.

"All the while the number of full-time fisheries officers trying to do the volunteers' essential front-line work has only increased by 23, yet the Ministry's office-bound bureaucracy has risen by almost 40%.

"While the bureaucracy is getting fatter in Wellington, the front-line force on our beaches is being stretched to the point where fewer poachers are being held to account.

"This Government claimed as part of its 'Poaching Is Theft' campaign, that 'everyone has a part to play in ensuring the sustainability of New Zealand's valuable fisheries'.

"So what part has Labour played? Instead of taking a leadership approach, it has in fact reduced the number of eyes and ears on the ground, and has created more opportunities for people to plunder our coastline."


Figures attached


Question: How many infringement notices were issued by the Ministry in each of the 2002/03, 2003/04, 2004/05, 2005/06 and 2006/07 financial years and how many of these notices were either paid or successfully defended for each of these years?

Portfolio: Fisheries

Minister: Hon Jim Anderton

Date Lodged:16/11/2007

Answer Text: Please refer to the following table:

Year Infringement Infringement Successfully
notices issued notices paid defended
by year end

2002/03 2,265 911 01
2003/04 2,105 1,003 nil
2004/05 1,757 825 01
2005/06 1,453 525 01
2006/07 1,490 645 01

The balance of infringement notices issued were withdrawn, waived, hearing requested or referred to the Department of Courts for collection.

Attachment: None

Date Received:06/12/2007


Question: How many prosecutions were undertaken by the Ministry in each of the 2002/03, 2003/04, 2004/05, 2005/06 and 2006/07 financial years (excluding the number of infringement notices issued, paid or defended for each year) and how many of these prosecutions resulted in convictions being entered or charges found proven by the court for each of these years?

Portfolio: Fisheries

Minister: Hon Jim Anderton

Date Lodged:16/11/2007

Answer Text: Please refer to the following table showing the number of Fisheries Act prosecutions undertaken by the Ministry's Compliance Prosecution team:

Year No of No of Defendants still Plea arrangement,
defendants defendants before the Court withdrawn or
convicted as at 30 June dismissed
2002/03 370 177 147 46
2003/04 328 185 132 11
2004/05 288 160 97 31
2005/06 210 115 79 16
2006/07 239 134 98 7

Attachment: None

Date Received:28/11/2007


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