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Letter to Editor June 2004

Response to Chris Carter

by Malcolm Lawson

The Southland Times

11 June 2004


A number of quotes and comments attributed to Chris Carter, Minister of Conservation, at the announcement of the Paterson Inlet marine reserve (Southland Times, June 5), must be challenged.

The opportunity to disagree is a cornerstone of democracy.

Mr Carter is scornful of those opposed to the reserve and signalled that he would not let opposition stand in the way of his vision in the future.

One can only assume from that that he is going to ignore the democratic process.

The main reason for the length of time that the establishment of this reserve has taken is due to the level of opposition.

Surely, the fact that it has now been established demonstrates democracy at work.

Saying that he, "Is mystified that recreational fishers are not our greatest allies", he continues to perpetuate the myth that marine reserves are some type of fisheries management tool. There is no reputable scientific evidence to support the hypothesis that marine reserves enhance fishing outside the boundaries of a reserve – a fact accepted by his own department.

Later, Mr Carter is credited with saying that it is the Government's aim to vest 10 percent of New Zealand's coastline as marine reserves. The Government's policy is for 10 percent of New Zealand's marine area to be vested as marine protected areas.

Marine reserves are but one method for protecting marine areas. Others may include mataitai or closure of areas to certain fishing methods.

It appears that he has his own agenda and is willing to mislead or be party to misinformation from his advisers. Anyone who has to deal with the head office of the Department of Conservation, for any reason, should be very wary.

Malcolm Lawson

Chief Executive Officer

CRA8 Management Committee Inc.



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