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What the fish dollars meant

3 November 2008 Media Statement

What the fish dollars meant

Opposition from United Future and NZ First helped block vital amendments to fisheries laws to protect fish stocks, Progressive MP Jim Anderton says.

Jim Anderton is the minister of fisheries. He says the issue has been crucial in this term of parliament.

"The Fisheries Act urgently needs amendment so that the fisheries minister can make decisions about fish stocks using the precautionary principle. Sometimes we don't know whether fish stocks are collapsing. For some stocks, such as orange roughy, we might not know until the stock is destroyed. But the courts have ruled the fisheries minister can't act to protect the fish stock unless the scientific information is certain. When it's not possible to get the required information, we can't make a decision to conserve the fish just in case the stock is going the way I fear it's going.

"This year I tried to change the law. I wanted to amend the relevant section of the Fisheries Act, section 10.

"Opposition from certain sections of the fishing industry, as well as from United Future and NZ First, meant the government couldn't get a majority for the amendment. National, Act and the Maori party also opposed the change.

"It is very disturbing to now read about the nature of the financial ties between the industry and some parties."


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