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Labour/NZ First Broken Promises on Recreational Fisheries

Labour/NZ First Broken Promises on Recreational Fisheries

Labour has broken its 2017 election promises about reforming fisheries management and in particular conducting a review of the Quota Management System says a national outdoor recreational council.

Council of Outdoor Recreation Council of New Zealand chairman Andi Cockroft said fisheries minister Stuart Nash on 5 February in the “New Zealand Herald” admitted he had abandoned Labour's election pledge to hold an independent review of the fisheries quota system. Greenpeace’s Russel Norman said the broken promise was the work of New Zealand First and its MP Shane Jones, who received a $10,000 donation from corporate fishing company Talley's in 2017.

Andi Cockroft said the “about-turn” by Minister Nash reflected the power and influence of the corporate commercial fishing companies over successive fisheries ministers.

“It was the same under National’s fisheries ministers in Carter and Guy,” he added.

The quota system favoured big corporates who by aggregating quota inevitably monopolised the fishing industry. The quota system was tailor made for “wheeling and dealing with the resource to the benefit of the big fat cats.”

Many of the million or so Kiwis who go recreational fishing would be very disappointed at the minister’s adopted subservient role, compliant to big corporates.

Andi Cockroft said fishing was a major public recreational sport and a 2012 Horizon survey showed while rugby is New Zealand’s most watched sport, fishing has more than five times more people participating than rugby.

“Fishing is also a healthy, outdoor recreation in contrast to couch-style rugby watching. Fishing was the top participant activity ahead of swimming, cycling and snow sports. Minister Nash has snubbed towards a million New Zealanders love of fishing.”

On February 5, Minister Nash released a discussion document claiming to be an overhaul of the commercial fishing industry. Labour in 2017 promised the review would be public but Minister Nash had now rejected that, saying consultation would be run by Fisheries NZ, within the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

Andi Cockroft said the minister’s decision suggested he had been leant on by the commercial fishing sector.

“The ministry has always shown a strong bias to the fishing industry. So the review in essence is a kangaroo court,” he added.

Sources indicated NZ First was behind the decision to ditch an independent review in favour of ministry-led one. Several NZ First MPs received substantial donations at election time from the corporate companies.

Andi Cockroft said NZ First was like Labour, guilty of broken promises around recreational fishing. NZ First’s outdoor recreation policy was to “ensure the maintenance of sustainable fishing with guaranteed access for recreational fishers, the protection of existing game fish species and no saltwater recreational licence”. He added that reneging on those promises went back to pre-election 2017 when on NZ First’s list, outdoor recreation spokesman Richard Prosser was effectively removed by demoting him from number 3 to 15 on the list.

“Was that MP’s inexplicable demotion due to pressure from the big fisheries companies?” he asked. “Certainly it seemed a prelude to NZ First abandoning it’s pro-recreational and sensible fisheries management ideas under Richard Prosser.”

He estimated that both Labour and NZ First would lose thousands of votes at next year’s election due to broken promises around fisheries simply to appease corporate company donors.

© Scoop Media

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