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Winston Peters - Recreational Fishing Council

Speech notes prepared for Rt Hon Winston Peters to Address Political Session, 2001 Conference and AGM,

New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council, Manor Inn,

34 Domain Road, WHAKATANE

- There are more than a million New Zealanders who fish for fun and food every year¡Xa right that needs to be clearly established for ALL New Zealanders, a right that is accompanied by responsibilities that need to be equally clear.

- There has been talk about requiring fishers to be licensed and a system set up similar to the Fish and Game Council. At present a small percentage belong to Fishing and Angling Clubs on a voluntary basis.

- The NZ Recreational Fishing Council lacks funding and status and I believe that some members would go along with the licensing idea to provide funds and a statutory structure to represent the interests of fishers.

- The reason why they are having to consider such an option is because the previous Minister reneged on a coalition commitment to provide base funding for the Recreational Fishing Council.

- New Zealand First had insisted that a sum of $100,000 be provided to facilitate the participation by recreational fishers in fisheries management.

- It was part of the coalition talks and he was requested on a number of occasions to action this funding. He did not.

- John Luxton assured the coalition that they would provide funding to fish and game council and introduce legislation allowing them greater powers¡Xthis was conveniently forgotten immediately after the coalition broke-up.

- The current Labour Government has continued to betray the industry and the Fishermen¡XIn the Budget they gave $50,000 for recreational fishing administration¡Xbearly enough to pay for the administration of licences, let alone the upkeep of heavily used recreational fishing spots.

- The Current Minister of Fisheries, Pete Hodgson is just as negligent. He talks about a limited $60,000 in total to recreational fishing and then boasts of $500,000 to Maori for them to be involved in fisheries management. That about sums up this Government’s priorities. Why would you give Maori $500,000 and a million recreational fishers virtually nothing?

- New Zealand First supports the sustainable management of the fisheries, and the strict policing of the resource by MOF with whatever support is required from law enforcement agencies.

- We would foster shared management arrangements with recreational customary and commercial fishers, while maintaining government control of industrial management, research and enforcement.

- New Zealand First opposes any control of the resource by foreign interests. It is estimated that the world’s fishing fleet is 30 per cent bigger than the total fishing resource. There are real dangers that fish stocks in some areas are getting seriously depleted and these fishing fleets will move further into Southern oceans.

- Apart from everything, fishing is a national pastime for New Zealanders. It is a way of life for many, and the major industry of some of our provincial towns. Those towns would be seriously hit if we made it harder for recreational fishers.

- When we say “New Zealander First” we mean that. We would rather protect our own fishing than foreigners¡Xit is that simple¡Xall the policy that Treasury is giving the Minister will not change that.

- The right to fish is part of being a New Zealander.

- MOF must put more resources into investigating and apprehending poachers. There are too many recreational fishers and Maori involved in what amounts to commercial fishing without a licence. A poacher is a poacher - whether the guise be customary rights or recreational fishing.

- MOF MUST clearly define a sustainable level of fish stocks through appropriate research and ensure that stocks are kept ABOVE this level.

- The concept of licensing saltwater fishing is NOT supported by New Zealand First. (It is considered a birthright of all New Zealanders). Freshwater anglers are different. Fish and Game Councils work with acclimatised stocks and have to manage their resources on a limited scale and in a limited area.

- Licensing saltwater anglers would create another bureaucracy.

- It would require a quasi-government board - it would require funding, offices, salaries etc.

- All other statutory boards are paid for by a levy on members - do the recreational fishers of New Zealand really want this?

- Who will police the recreational fishers’ licences? MOF? Police? If a “Recreational Fishers’ Police” is set up recreational fishers will pay for it.

- That said, recreational fishers should join with the Crown in helping administer and regulate recreational fishing to maintain sustainability and this could be done on a regional basis under a national umbrella organisation such as a VOLUNTARY ORGANISATION like the Recreational Fishing Council¡Xand the Government should guarantee that participation by providing basic financial support.

The whole thrust of Fisheries Management is to ensure the conservation of ALL species. Each stakeholder (traditional, commercial and recreational) has a basic responsibility to stick to the rules. It is the Government’s job to oversee this process and to police it.

ENDS


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