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Fisheries staff blowout questioned by committee

Phil Heatley MP
National Party Fisheries Spokesman

18 February 2008

Fisheries staff blowout questioned by committee

Labour’s own MPs are sceptical over the reasons the Ministry of Fisheries has given for its massive staff blowout, says National’s Fisheries spokesman, Phil Heatley.

“The Primary Production Committee’s report on the ministry’s 2006/07 financial review expresses concern that the number of staff within the ministry has grown from 327 to 452 since 2002.

“Fisheries said the increase was due to ‘the introduction of new initiatives in the ministry, such as research, compliance, and the development of fisheries plans’.

“But the committee, which includes Labour MPs, isn’t convinced. It has concluded ‘the staffing allocation schedules provided to us do not entirely support this claim as most increases in staff numbers have occurred in Wellington rather than in front line roles, such as those undertaken by fishery officers within district officers’.

“This is what National has been saying for a long time, but a fact which Labour has denied until now. This report confirms Fisheries’ obsession with fattening its head office bureaucracy is of concern to the Government.

“And this is exactly the reason why beach patrolling, prosecutions, and infringement notices are at an all-time low.

“Furthermore, the report highlights Fisheries’ own admission that its relationship with fishing interests are ‘at one of its lowest points’.

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out why. The burgeoning bureaucracy that is infesting the Ministry has destroyed its relationship with customary, commercial, and recreational fishers.

“All fishing interests, whether commercial or recreational, are disillusioned by the growing bureaucracy in Wellington. They can’t get any decisions out of the bureaucrats for the most basic of requests, and levy costs keep skyrocketing - but Labour just doesn’t care.”


ENDS

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