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option4 Update #14 March 2002

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Is this Public Consultation????????
March 2002

Dear [ subscriber ]

Human Rights legal challenge and fisheries scientist watchdog role.

In November we asked you, should we mount a legal challenge based on human rights against the governments position regarding the public's right to fish in the sea? We also asked, should we employ a fisheries scientist to perform a watchdog role on Fisheries Management activities?

The response was incredible. Nearly 1500 people have responded with all but a handful strongly affirming these actions. Every day cheques arrive - the fighting fund is growing. Receipts will be posted this month. The letters attached are often profound expressions of support - they are much appreciated. We have a long way to go and not a lot of time to get there.

Ministry Consultation Proposals
After a first proposal in December the Ministry have revised their "Consultation" thinking. See the option4 site for their new thinking https://www.option4.co.nz/Your_Rights/consplan2.htm. The Ministry have decided to have a set of "Occasional Papers" prepared by "experts" appointed by the Ministry to provide information to the recreational sector and ensure the (representative) groups "understand the constraints and the 'broader policy environment'. The timeline does not however cater specifically for consultation on the policy development. The revised Public Consultation Proposals stress the limited resources available for this vital work. Where demand can be demonstrated, the Ministry propose to have a seminar in each major region to discuss the papers. Who knows what "where demand is demonstrated" means? Remember, all this activity is scheduled to be complete by this July - 4 months by the time you read this. Please read the full Ministry proposals.

From July 2002 through February 2003 the process again submerges. The following extract from the Consultation proposals speaks for itself - "A core role of the Ministry is to provide advice to the Minister regarding his requests for advice to cabinet. There are strict guidelines around the development of cabinet papers. These include consultation with other departments and the incorporation of their views into recommendations. The cabinet paper development process remains confidential until the decision has been made. There is no direct role for stakeholders during the development of cabinet papers."

In our opinion this is a Ministry paper saying 'we will have a one way discussion and then go away and decide what is to be done'. If that is the case we are in for a repeat of Soundings, a fiasco in terms of effective public consultation. Unless the Ministry actually starts to listen, consultation processes where the public only get to do the listening will continue to prove to be utterly useless and ineffective. We, at option4, do not believe that this process will offer the necessary opportunities for this Ministry to really understand what it is the public want - a clearly defined priority right over the fishing industry, enshrined in legislation.

Review of the Amateur Fishing Regulations.
We also note there is no mention of the promised review of the Amateur Fishing Regulations in the proposed public consultation program. option4's interest in this review was made clear at the last meeting we had with Ministry officials We suggest that they include the review in the process. We have no interest in getting involved in the process unless there is a joint planning process and a real intent to address the critical issues. We are still waiting for a reply from the Minister on this subject. The letter was sent in November https://www.option4.co.nz/Fisheries_Mgmt/fiordland.htm

The Moyle Promise.
Another issue is the interpretation of the Moyle Policy, there is no mention of any discussion on how each of the parties see the policy - it would appear there is quite a gap.

Lets wrap up by listing what is currently being debated/legislated right now in the Fisheries arena that directly affects us.

1. The rights of the public in the fisheries
2. Aquaculture - Moratorium and ongoing debate regards its impact on the public.
3. New Marine Reserve legislation proposed
4. 50 new species being introduced to the Quota Management System

This is a huge amount of change being promoted in a very tight time frame with what we regard as a very limited budget for public involvement. Stay alert and keep reading the option4 Update. If you can, go online and register yourself and then consider introducing people you know are interested to the monthly Update. Development will be coming thick and fast now that we are all back on deck refreshed having enjoyed a great summer of family, friends and fishing.

The option4 team

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