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Cabinet Approves Change To Fisheries Cost Recovery

CABINET APPROVES CHANGES TO FISHERIES COST RECOVERY RULES

Fisheries Minister, John Luxton and Treasurer Bill English today announced that Cabinet has agreed on changes in fisheries cost recovery rules designed to reduce business compliance costs within the thriving fisheries sector.

"The proposed changes should be welcomed by the fishing industry as they are expected to reduce cost recovery levies by around $4.9 million a year. The reduction will be introduced during the next fishing year", said Mr Luxton.

The changes were recommended by a joint officials/fishing industry working group established by the Government in April of this year. The recommendations are in line with the overall direction of the Government's fisheries reform programme and with the Government's new Public Sector pricing model agreed to by Cabinet in December last year.

"The working group has been an excellent example of co-operation between officials from the Treasury, the Ministry of Fisheries, industry and the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission", said Mr English.

The joint working group has recommended that:

* Services purchased directly by rights holders will be paid for by rights holders;

Regulatory management processes are funded by the Crown;

* The costs of monitoring and auditing the provision of a service are to be met by the party purchasing the service;

* The costs of compliance monitoring and offence detection of non-commercial fishing activity are to be met by the Crown;

* The costs of compliance monitoring and offence detection of poaching and black market activities are to be met by the Crown;

The costs of prosecutions are to be met by the Crown;

* The cost of stock assessment research, in fisheries that are shared by commercial and non-commercial fishers, recovered from industry, are to be determined by the ratio of Total Allowable Commercial Catch to Total Allowable Catch;

* The costs of protected species population research projects to be recovered from industry are to be determined by the ratio of the risk to the population posed by commercial fishing in the New Zealand EEZ, to the total risk of the population; and

* The costs of managing the research planning process are to be met by the Crown.

The Ministers said the Cabinet decision is still subject to consultation with approved stakeholders. Consultation will commence in October 1999 and is expected to be completed later in the year or early in the New Year. Any impact on the 1999/2000 levy order will be backdated to 1 October 1999.

"The existing cost recovery rules have been contentious since their inception in 1994. It is very pleasing to see the issue resolved through the development of a sustainably cost recovery regime".


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