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Organised Poaching Rings Threat To Law And Order

Friday 1 July 2004

Organised Poaching Rings Threat To Law And Order

“Material obtained under the Official Information Act shows that Auckland is the North Island hub and Christchurch the South Island hub for many of the 70 significant organised poaching rings that target paua alone in New Zealand,” said Martin Cooney, organiser with the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) today. He was releasing material that shows that the Ministry estimates at least 935 tonnes of paua (abalone) disappears into the mainly Asian black market annually – about the same as is in the legal quota.

“If there were international criminal networks stealing 50% of New Zealand’s lambs each year there would be an outcry from politicians and resources immediately applied to stop it happening,” said Martin Cooney. “Instead because it is fisheries, there is a bigger outcry from politicians over Winston Peters allegedly having a free meal over the scampi issue than over the breakdown of law and order on our coastline.”

“The report shows that two different international criminal networks exist – the Asian distribution networks and the gangs/criminal networks. Criminal networks always link to other sources of income like drugs, money laundering, protection rackets and even kidnapping. Middle New Zealand should be very worried that It is only a matter of time till this occurs in New Zealand,” said Martin Cooney.

“If there was not a serious law and order issue, then Fishery Officers would not be complaining about the Ministry failing to provide pepper spray and ASP batons to protect officers and allow them to do their job,” said Martin Cooney. If you want to see the Official Information Act material which is sourced from “Options to mitigate risk of Fishery Officers being assaulted”

ENDS

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