A Marlborough region recreational sea fishing group has challenged the Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash over the Labour Party’s 2017 election promise to investigate the quota management system, often referred to as QMS. On February 5, the minister announced in the “NZ Herald” that he had abandoned Labour’s election pledge to hold an independent review of the fisheries quota system.
“It is of deep concern that you could dishonour this pledge by a simple comment in the “NZ Herald” in February. So much for political integrity and honour,” said Marlborough Recreational Fishers Association (MRFA) chairman Peter Watson in a letter to government.
In his reply to a MRFA letter Minister Nash stated he had strong faith in “the competent, knowledgeable people” in the Ministry. However MRFA said his comment lacked both reality and credibility.
While respecting that there are some competent officers in the Ministry, the experience of MRFA over the issues of the Marlborough Sounds blue cod closure in 2008 and the subsequent mismanagement and poor decision making of the ministry, had left MRFA with little confidence in the bureaucracy.
“To further undermine confidence has been kahawai depletion, King Salmon farming issues, discriminatory set net bans on the recreational public and inability to deal – or show any interest – with the basic problem in the Sounds of habitat/ecosystem degradation. Frankly it has shown the Ministry to often be woefully incompetent,” said MRFA.
The Transferable Quota Management System (QMS) had privatised the resource with corporate companies reselling in ‘wheeling and dealing’ buying out quota, allowing corporate companies to accumulate and aggregate quota and thereby dominate the resource. Fish dumping, misreporting of catches and corporate company refusal to allow observation cameras were examples of failure of the QMS. In 2017, MRFA and other recreational groups were therefore heartened by Labour’s pre-election promise to conduct an independent credible enquiry into the QMS.
“It is of deep concern that you could dishonour this pledge by a simple comment in the “NZ Herald” in February. So much for political integrity and honour.”
Other groups have also expressed deep disappointment.
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.
MRFA in its letter said “Yes Minister – the classic TV comedy “Yes Minister” in which bureaucrats fool the cabinet ministers – was alive and well, in Wellington.
MRFA said corporate companies held far too much sway with government.
“The ministry understandably comes under strong pressure from the corporates. It is public knowledge that the corporates donate to political parties and individual MPs.”
Newshub on 1 February this year reported “Talley’s donated $10,000 to Mr Jones’ 2017 campaign. And while Mr Jones accepts that, and that he’s mates with Talley’s boss, Sir Peter Talley, he says it doesn’t mean anything.”
From the internet Nov 12, 2018 “It’s little wonder that, once an MP, Jones received donations worth $10,000 from both Sealord and Talley’s. In fact, the latter also bankrolled the new-and-improved populist Jones’ campaign in Whangarei for NZ First last year.” There are also allegations of corporate fishing companies donating to other MPs. Other MPs beside Shane Jones received campaign donations from corporate fishing companies.
MRFA said if the Labour-led government had honoured its 2017 election promise to conduct an independent credible enquiry then the questionable relationships would have been open for public scrutiny.
MRFA said .any of the management failures in the current QMS system had been swept under the carpet and certainly cannot be addressed by the ministries, i.e. Ministry for Primary Industries or Fisheries New Zealand, because they have been responsible for the failures.
© Marlborough Sounds
© Kahawai have been severely depleted in Marlborough