or Public Foreshore
Privatisation of public resources
has been happening at breakneck speed in the past few years and
is concerning not only fishermen but also the millions of New Zealanders
who enjoy the outdoor lifestyle. Our fisheries have been divided
into tradeable quotas and now, it seems, we could lose our common
law rights to the foreshore.
Information option4 has
gathered suggests the Foreshore and Seabed Bill removes all common
law rights of the public and creates new statutory rights in their
place. Statutory rights which will be vulnerable to the whims of
Loss of rights
Common law rights to fishing will be removed altogether
if the present bill succeeds. These will be governed by the Fisheries
Act 1996, regulations made under the Fisheries Act and the Treaty
of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act 1992. New statutory
rights will be created for access to the foreshore, seabed and for
While the intention may
not have been to extinguish the common law right to fish, the effect
will be profound if this bill passes in its present form.
A significant factor we
have to consider is that the Ministers of Maori Affairs and Conservation
will be in control of access and navigation rights. We have already
witnessed the track record of the Minister of Conservation's effort
over the past few years in regards to access for fishermen to our
Unfortunately, the process for consultation on this most fundamental
issue has been shrouded in political grandstanding, adverse publicity
and mistrust from so many quarters it is hard to get a grip on what
is really happening. This seems to be reflected in the lack of submissions
to the process. The NZ Herald reported on 8/7/04 that the committee
which will be considering them had received only around 200 submissions.
It's not hard to see why people are not submitting when the arguments
and implications are not clear.
option4 has struggled to
gather any information that gives a definitive statement of what
the bill means for us and our future generations. We simply
don't have the resources to employ legal staff. Fortunately, other
representative organisations have been working hard on dissecting
and rebutting the bill. The Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations
of New Zealand (CORANZ) have spent weeks working through the bill,
looking into the implications on our right to fish, access to the
foreshore and the changes applicable to the Resource Management
Act. They have come to the conclusion the bill is so poorly written
it should be withdrawn.
This is a significant statement
from a council consisting of groups and knowledgeable individuals
who have fought to protect the public's interest in the outdoors
for many years.
option4 has been granted an extension to the submission
deadline. The public are being encouraged to submit even though
the official deadline was 12 July. It is important to express your
views even if it is in the form a one-page letter. Submissions to
the committee can be posted to: Foreshore and Seabed Submissions,
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, PO Box 55, Wellington.
The NZ Recreational Fishing Council held its AGM and conference
in Whangarei over the first weekend in July. It was heartening to
see such enthusiasm from those who represent fishers nationally.
Many have been toiling away on our behalf for more than 20 years.
Ross Gildon stepped down as president of the council after a meritorious
effort to protect rights and access to our precious marine environment.
Long serving councillor
and MTA representative, Keith Ingram was voted in as president for
the upcoming year. Geoff Rowling and Jeff Romeril are now vice presidents.
Bill Ross, Richard Baker and Don Glass were elected unopposed to
the council and will no doubt continue the sterling work these individuals
have done on behalf of those who fish for food or fun.
David Benson-Pope addressed
the conference on the first day and it was a great opportunity to
meet the new Minister of Fisheries. National's Phil Heatley delivered
a clear message on
behalf of his party and also expressed his keen interest as a fisherman.
Greens co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons
didn't make it to Whangarei. Unfortunately she was busy elsewhere,
so Scott Macindoe delivered a
speech on her behalf. We were looking forward to meeting her
as she has actively supported fisheries management decisions that
benefit the public, namely kingfish and kahawai. Muriel Newman spoke
on behalf of ACT. Winston Peters spoke about NZ First's policy on
kahawai. He made it clear that they considered the Ministry of Fisheries
were "playing favourites" when considering the allocation of kahawai
and did not want kahawai stocks put at risk.
To their credit Larry Baldock
of United Future and Paul Check of Outdoor Recreation NZ stayed
for the entire conference. Being one of the committee due to hear
the Foreshore submissions Larry bore the brunt of many questions
during and after the Foreshore and Seabed session. Paul gave a no
nonsense speech on environmental and marine protection issues. It
is heartening to see such understanding of an integrated approach
to marine protection from a political party.
Alan Riwaka from TOKM
contributed constructively as did industry representatives Peter
Stevens and Andrew Bond. DoC representatives from Whangarei and
the Marine Conservation Unit based in Wellington felt the heat on
several occasions and we were particularly interested in the information
provided by Ministry of Fisheries staff.
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