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Seafood Industry Critical Of Compensation

SEAFOOD INDUSTY CRITICAL OF GOVT COMPENSATING MAORI LANDOWNERS BUT NOT FISHERMEN FOR ECONOMIC LOSS.


The Seafood Industry Council business policy manager Tony Craig said today that industry was totally frustrated by Government’s draconian approach to the 4th schedule species compensation issue.

The industry wants the government to compensate fishers who will suffer economic loss as a result of some species being moved into the quota management system. Under the 1992 Maori Fisheries Settlement Maori get 20 percent of all species on the 4th schedule as they are moved into the quota management system. The government has included a clause in the fisheries Amendment Bill No 2 which would wipe out compensation.

“It is simply a confiscation of property rights which will create a major economic loss for many small fishers.”

“The industry is astounded that in recent weeks the government has seen fit to compensate Maori landowners on Stewart Island to the tune of $10.9 million for economic loss yet is legislating to prevent ordinary fishermen for the same thing.”

“There are dozens of fishermen around the country who make a modest living from some of these species. Reducing their catch entitlement by twenty percent will make many of their operations uneconomic.”

“The industry and indeed New Zealanders can’t afford to put up with this sort of double standard.”

Today the Seafood Industry is to put a number of submissions to the Primary Producers Select Committee aimed at resolving the issue. The only other alternative is to seek redress through the courts.

Mr Craig said the industry was willing to take over the responsibility of finding a solution.

“We know the Ministry advised Cabinet that the government would have to pay about $13 million in compensation to the industry to settle the issue. Quite simply they stuffed up the calculations and overstated the risk. We believe we can find a fair solution for about $6 million.”

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