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Labour's Fishing Policy: The One That Got Away

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18 OCTOBER 1999

LABOUR'S FISHING POLICY: THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY

Fisheries Minister, Hon John Luxton today said that Labour's fishing policy, offers nothing new for the fishing sector other than more state control.

"Labour wants to retain the expensive centralised approach of the past rather than allowing stakeholders to have a greater say in the future of their fisheries"

"After nine long years in Opposition their policy offers no fresh thinking on how to improve the fisheries sector or the right of stakeholders. Instead it reinforces the current National Government's success in managing New Zealand's fisheries by stating that we already have a world leading fisheries policy:"

As further evidence of Labour's ringing endorsement, Mr Luxton cited existing National initiatives:

- improved Quota Management System and cost recovery regime; - sustainable management of fisheries; - greater involvement of stakeholders in managing the resource; - delivery of strong standards setting, auditing and monitoring; and - the development of an oceans policy.

"In terms of economic performance and sustainability, National's policy has led to New Zealand's fisheries and fishing industry being among the top performers in the world. More fish have been caught for the same effort; greater investment has occurred; profits have increased; export earnings have increased and employment in the fishing sector is at record levels."

Mr Luxton said while on the surface Labour's policy is similar, the great danger for the fishing sector lurks below. "Labour's policies on ACC, the ECA and conservation are set to cripple the commercial sector and industry have every right to be concerned."

"Labour are also behind the times when it comes to their claim to add value to catch, thereby enhancing the value to the resource. Industry are already doing just that and have been for some time. The Hoki fishery is a prime example. Research has allowed this fishery to supply top quality white fish fillets to the European market where previously much of the catch was just made into surimi. This in recent years has increased the value of this fishery by over $100 million."

"New Zealand;s fisheries need progressive, forward looking and innovative policies. Yet again Labour have shown they only occupy the shallow waters."

ENDS

www.executive.govt.nz/minister/luxton


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