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Extracts from the editorial of Fishing News May 2002 edition.


 

May, 2002

"When the wheels fall off"

Ever had one of those months you wished you had never occurred! April has been a bit like that.

It started well enough and with lots of promise. After Easter I spent the first fortnight of the school holidays on leave with family at my favourite haunt, Waipu Cove. We fished, explored the rock pools, went to the movies and generally had a relaxing time. ……………

…………..Number three in the bad news department came when the Ministry of Fisheries put our fishing rights debates on the back burner until after the election, (Surprise, surprise!) Whereas the Ministry's compliance people can get their act together (witness the recent successful black market paua and crayfish operations), it seems its policy people can't.

In the Soundings process I believe the Government set out to institute proportional share (Option 3) as its way of defining the public right in the fishery. option4.co.nz saw through this immediately and put in an option of its own that was supported by 98.5 percent of the Soundings respondees.

Government sought our input and was given a clear mandate. Think back to the last election when the public were asked its opinion on sentencing and over 90 percent demanded harsher penalties for serious crime. The Government chose not to act on this - see any parallels emerging?

option4.co.nz understood from the Minister and his advisers that future discussions would be based on Moyle's 'promise', but it has certainly not panned out that way.

Once again the Ministry will prepare a public document for discussion that will contain recommended changes to the management regime on which all stakeholders will get the opportunity to comment.

To talk about reform without first defining rights is absurd. It is good to see the Ministry has committed some dollars to better determining the public's impact on their own fishery, but it is putting the horse before the cart.

I had great hopes for Pete Hodgson as our fisheries leader, only to be disappointed. I believed (naively it turns out) he would be his 'own man' and work for the good of the people, having heard their clear message. This political hot potato has now been shelved until after the election on the pretext of gathering more information. Reading between the lines it means the public's expectations regarding access to the fish stocks are not those the Labour Government's cabinet wants it to have. So on their performance over fisheries matters, Labour will not be getting my vote, nor should they yours.

Tight lines
Grant Dixon
Editor
NZ Fishing News

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