Election Special Update July 2002

option4 Analysis of Political Party Policy
on Public Fishing

Over 500 option4 Subscribers have taken advantage of the opportunity to have their views heard by the politicians. Well done people.

Wyatt Creech, and Eric Roy from National and Jeanette Fitzsimmons of the Green Party have written directly to all those who wrote to them. A number of MP's have responded to option4 with acknowledgements and a handful objected to us communicating with them in this manner. Over all, the response has been positive. We have learnt a lot. We will be putting together more opportunities for you to "have your say".

option4 has carefully considered the fisheries policies of the parties seeking your vote. Of all the parties you could reasonably expect to have a current public fisheries policy, Labour has elected to not present a policy as such for this election. Why not?
Pete Hodgson needs to do more than argue the Ministry of Fisheries arguments to have any credibility with the public fishing sector. We have had the Public Consultation. The level of public interest and written submission broke all records and portrayed a degree of consensus unprecedented in such a consultation process.

The party policies - The Top Four

# 1 - Outdoor Recreation New Zealand
Score card - 9.5 out of 10
If securing a better future for our fisheries is driving the way you vote, this is as good as it gets. These people have made every effort to seek input, advise and counsel on their fisheries policy. They are to be applauded for the huge effort and sacrifice they have made to take these issues to the line. All 4 of the option4 Principles are included in a no nonsense, solid policy statement that deserves your support.

Ensure that all New Zealanders have a priority right over commercial fishers, to a reasonable daily bag limit, and have the ability to exclude commercial methods that may deplete recreationally important areas. Consult with all agencies and groups to plan for future generations to enjoy their legal right to take fish, while preventing fish conserved for recreational use being allocated to the commercial sector.

Marine Reserves
Oppose the establishment of further Marine Reserves until such time as their establishment is scientifically proven to be beneficial to all New Zealanders.
Full policy available on line at

#2 - National
Scorecard - 8.5 out of 10
This policy statement is truly a breath of fresh air from an established party. National have been engaged with the recreational sector since the outcome of the Soundings process. Previous Fisheries Minister, Doug Kidd, has travelled to Auckland on several occasions to brief representatives of the public sector organisations engaged in the rights definition debate on the publics rights under the Fisheries Act 1996, which he was responsible for passing into law. National have delivered an excellent policy - well worth reading.

The National policy certainly reflects the clear call from the public to have their access and priority confirmed. This press release extract from last week is a good summary: - "National will stop recreational fishers being squeezed out by commercial interests by making it quite explicit in our fishing law that the rights of recreational fishing comes first. We will also enable recreational fishers to apply for an increased share of any fishery, based on demonstration of need and of responsible fishing practices. Fisheries management has been biased against recreational interests because of the legal weight given to commercial and cultural fishing rights. National believes the recreational right of all New Zealanders should come first."
Well done National - thankyou.

Marine Reserves
On this issue National remain silent - we will be following up our request for more information immediately after the election
Full policy available on line at

#3 - New Zealand First
Scorecard - 4.5 out of 10
There is a clear understanding throughout the policy that the non-commercial sectors need more resourcing and role definition within the Fisheries Management processes.

Whilst not talking explicitly about recognizing priority, this policy does recognize the need to "rebuild Valued Recreational and Maori Customary Fish species to Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) and above.

Marine Reserves
No statement specific.
Full policy available on line at

#4 - Green
Scorecard - 2 out of 10
Strong statements that recognise the importance of public fishing - offset by very scary Marine Reserve policy that requires a great deal more work and discussion.

Whilst advocating for Kahawai and Kingfish to be recreational only species is commendable, they have failed to realise that the arguments for priority in flounder, snapper, scallops, paua etc which are harvested by the public for (GE free) food deserve priority over commercial fishers trying to feed the rest of the world with our precious inshore shared fisheries. The Greens contention that the commercial sector provides seafood to people who cannot catch it for themselves, thus overriding our assertion that we have a priority on other species is naïve. Their statements are undermined by the outrageous ratio of export that dominates the catch of our precious inshore-shared fisheries. It would only make sense if a significant portion of those commercially caught inshore species were reserved for local consumption. Price has forced crayfish, paua and to a lesser extent snapper, off the menu for most New Zealanders unless they catch it themselves.
The policy statement to manage fishstocks with BMSY as a minimum, rather than as a target will result in more and bigger fish in the sea thus increasing both quality and availability of fish to the public. This is a good policy.

Marine Reserves
A very complex policy statement that must be read and fully understood by any fisher contemplating voting for the Green party. The opening bid is "working toward the protection of 20% of the coastline in marine reserves". However it is a little ambiguous as to whether Maori traditional fishing areas will be allowed to exist within a reserve. Does this mean that Maori may be allowed to fish within a Marine Reserve - refer section 26 (f) "where proposed reserves and traditional fishing areas overlap, local win-win solutions that respect Treaty rights should be found before any proposal proceeds to government".

A further concern - is 20% the thin edge of the wedge. Will the proposed network of Marine Mammal Sanctuaries, plus the proposed amendment to the National Parks Act to facilitate the protection of marine areas adjacent to National Parks and plans to establish Marine Parks in key areas to be included in the 20% or to be over and above the policy of 20%.
Full policy available on line at

Parties with NO Fisheries Policy statements for this election

In the absence of a policy statement we make the following observations.
Priority - Current Fisheries Minister, Pete Hodgson, has continually claimed that a lack of consensus among the public fishing representatives has prevented him moving forward on defining the publics right to harvest seafood. option4 believes that this is spinning mirrors to deflect the real outcome of Soundings because the real outcome prevents the Ministry from driving its overwhelmingly rejected Proportional Share agenda forward. There is, arguably, a 100% consensus on priority. The "lack of consensus" the Minister continually refers to is whether or not the Fisheries Act 1996 needs to be changed to give effect to that priority. 98% of the public who made submission believe the current Act's wording gives a priority whilst a handful of individuals believe the Act needs amendment to more explicitly give priority to the public over the fishing industry.
The point is, consensus regarding whether or not we have or should have priority is indisputable. We ask the question - Why is this Labour party refusing to give expression to this consensus in a policy statement for this election?

Marine Reserves
It is Labours policy that 10% of the marine environment be set aside as marine protected areas. These would include Marine Reserves as well as taiapure, fishing exclusion zones etc.

United Future
Peter Dunne has consistently demonstrated a clear understanding of the issues. option4 will invite him to answer some specific questions after the election furore has died down, along with the other political parties.

No clear messages available. Their Responses to our post election questionnaire will be interesting.

Progressive Coalition
Support the establishment of limited area recreational fishing reserves that will be restricted to non-commercial fishing activities. Marine Reserves Bill, which Anderton's Alliance Party promoted, receives full support from this new party.

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