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Select Committee Scampi Decision Fishy

Media release

23/06/04

Select Committee Scampi Decision Fishy

South Island Seafood businessman Joe Cave says he is astounded that politicians have put politics before justice.

“Despite the fact that one High court decision and two inquiries have found that the scampi allocation process was unfair and unjust, the Select Committee has voted to settle the dispute by giving some fishermen a level of compensation that is an insult and completely ignoring the losses suffered by others.

“The public of New Zealand must be wondering what games are being played out behind closed doors for the select committee to come to such an unjust decision.

“We are also deeply concerned that the Speaker of the House will not investigate new allegations about Winston Peters.

“New Zealanders want to be sure that their politicians are free from the stench of corruption. The latest allegations will leave the public wondering about the integrity of some politicians and the Speaker has an obligation to open an inquiry into the matter to put the public at ease.

“The role and effectiveness of the Select Committees has to come under the microscope as well. The whole process can be only described as a farce, and we have suffered huge losses for what appears to be political expediency.”

“To understand the allocation procedure one has to visualize a pie, sliced into a number of pieces, the size of the pie is the related to the total allowable catch, the size of the pieces is related to each individual’s allocation. Basically, due to the Ministry’s maladministration some fisherman have missed out on a slice completely, others have ended up with crumbs or very small slice. The State Services Report clearly identifies that one company received many instances of favouritism.

Quotes from the State Services Report
“The above factors lead us to conclude that relationships between officials and commercial scampi fishers were not professional and arms length in the period between 1988 and 1992. One outcome was that Simunovich was treated in a favourable way, in contrast to the other scampi fishers in the scampi fishery (page 9)

“The incoherence of policy throughout the regions led to inconsistent treatment of fishes, favouring one fisher Simunovich to the disadvantage of other scampi fishers”. (page 145)

“Despite the imposition of the vessel restriction on 22 April 1991, MAF/Fish permitted and approved in Simunovich’s favour, two additional vessels which were not fishing as at 30 September 1990”. (page 179)

“On the face of it, MAF/Fish acted inconsistently and unevenhandedly, with Simunovich receiving the advantage”. (page 191)

“The lack of communication reinforces the adhoc nature of dealing with the vessel policy and gives rise to the inevitable conclusion that Simunovich was given preferential and favourable treatment by MAF/Fish, which resulted in Simunovich gaining an advantage over other fishers, particularly Barine”. (page 193)

Basically the slices of pie was determined by the catch history in the 1990 -1992 fishing years), unfortunately most of the fishermen were sidelined thanks to the Ministry of Fisheries maladministration.

The total losses in property rights, i.e. quota and past and future losses will be well over $100 million - rights and profits that have wrongfully gone to Simunovich.

“What New Zealanders will want to know is what has been the role of Mr Peters in this sad sorry saga and only the Speaker Mr Hunt can shed light on that by initiating an inquiry into the latest allegations, Mr Cave said.

ENDS

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