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No staff cuts says Fisheries Minister

29 September, 2004

No staff cuts says Fisheries Minister

There will not be one single less frontline fisheries officer as a result of current restructuring discussions says Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope.

The Minister confirmed the Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) were discussing with staff options for centralising some compliance functions but this was about providing a more effective service – not cutting staff.

"These proposals are about getting more bang for our bucks," says Mr Benson-Pope. "We are going after poachers who we know are becoming more sophisticated and organised. To beat them we are going to have to be more sophisticated ourselves.

"These changes are intended to position MFish so that it has the capability and flexibility to deliver appropriate compliance services with improved accountability and transparency."

Mr Benson-Pope says it is mischievous for the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) to describe meetings they are having this Friday as "stop work meetings" when the Ministry of Fisheries had actively encouraged staff to meet and discuss the issues in this way. Staff are to be paid as normal to attend the meetings, as part of the consultation process.

Mr Benson-Pope also says there is no link between proposals to restructure MFish compliance services and contract negotiations with NUPE.

ENDS

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