by Jem Traylen of “Business Desk”
Fisheries minister David Parker is blaming public mistrust in the quota management system for withdrawing an important part of a reform package being considered by parliament.
In a move that blindsided the fishing industry, Parker removed the part of the Fisheries Amendment Bill that would have enabled streamlining of the process for setting the total allowable catch (TAC) for a fish stock.
In response to a campaign by recreational fishing lobby group Legasea, thousands of public submissions were received asking for these provisions to be removed from the bill.
The Primary Production select committee tightened the provisions by specifying how the pre-set rules would be made and imposing a five-year time limit on them.
However, Legasea was not satisfied with the changes and continued to campaign with environmental groups for the provisions to be removed altogether.
A Legasea spokesperson said the rules would cut off the “three prongs of the current protection framework”.
“These are the public submissions process, the separation of commercial allocations and non-commercial fishing allowances, and ministerial discretion that enable David Parker to make a series of conservative decisions to sustain and restore marine life.”
Green MP Eugenie Sage sided with Parker, saying the public had a strong view that MPI has been “captured” by the fishing industry, a perception she said would only be worsened by decisions being made behind closed doors.
The Ministry bureaucrats set up to excuse themselves getting submissions from the public. This is grubby tactics by the bureaucrats who at the end of the day are public servants. I applaud Minister David Parker for denying the public servants their self serving wish. But the loudest praise should be for Legasea. Thank goodness they are there as vigilant watchdogs.
Yes- I agree, T.O. The Fishery politicians and staff are accountable to the voters of NZ, to all Kiwis, not just the business sector. Public submissions are important in generating a robust or balanced discussion so decisions are fair and justified. MPI needs to be taken to account for their blind backing of the fishing industry. We want our politicians and govt dept workers’ policies to reflect what Kiwis need and ideas from all are important. We need to conserve our fishing stocks for future generations, not look at mere short-term earning of overseas currencies to prop up our balance of payments. Streamlining decision-making may well be faster and so better for commercial operators, yet it is not at all the best for our remaining fishing stock.