option4.co.nz update #22 December 2002

Dear supporters

Process - what process?

In July 2000 we saw the "Soundings" document released with public consultation being wound up at Christmas 2000. The Joint Working Group delivered its findings in March 2001. The Minister assembled a Ministerial Consultative Group to offer him feedback on draft Ministry Policy Proposals. Minister Pete Hodgson has reminded us on more than one occasion of the need for good process. Good process generates good outcomes. Whilst we believe the Minister is determined to oversee good process we do not have the same confidence in the Ministry of Fisheries belief for good process.

Here is a summary of 2002. Our score for their "process" this year is a resounding 0/10 - you make up your own minds.

November 2001 - The Minister of Fisheries delivered his Cabinet Paper "Recreational Fisheries Reform" to his Parliamentary colleagues on the Cabinet Finance, Infrastructure and Environment Committee. https://option4.co.nz/letter37.htm

The minutes of that Cabinet committee's decision (FIN Min (01) 2814) outline the following directives:-
" note that the Minister of Fisheries has requested that the Ministry of Fisheries work closely with the recreational sector to develop a specific proposal for reform….invited the Minister of Fisheries to report to the Cabinet Finance, Infrastructure and Environment Committee (FIN) on the outcome of further analysis and a recommended option for public consultation no later than 1 February 2003;
agreed that the Minister of Fisheries report back to FIN with the outcome of public - consultation no later than 1 June 2003."

This Cabinet Paper is the driver of the process. Nothing else. Read on to see how the Ministry of Fisheries has, yet again, failed to deliver on process, never mind public good.

December 2001 - The Ministry of Fisheries issue their draft Consultation Plan for Recreational Fishing Reform 2002/2003. https://option4.co.nz/letter38.htm This outlined the need to work closely and immediately in order to meet the deadlines imposed by Cabinet. It also invited feedback, which was duly provided by a number of representative organisations including option4. This paper indicated 7 months for work with public sector representatives and 6 months work time to prepare the Cabinet Paper.

January 2002 - The Ministry of Fisheries issue their paper "Recreational Fishing Reform: Action Plan 2002-03" - this acknowledges the input from representative groups and goes on to outline a process for the development of the "single option for reform" https://option4.co.nz/mofplan.htm This is a must read document.

March 2002 - option4 write to the Minister expressing concerns about the Cabinet Paper that is the basis of Cabinet Decisions driving the current process (or non process as the case may be). Still no word from Ministry of first seminar or background paper as promised. https://option4.co.nz/cabinetresponse.htm

April 2002 - The Minister responds to concerns option4 had expressed about the cabinet paper. https://option4.co.nz/cabinetresponse0204.htm He refuses to discuss any of the concerns raised. He is not available to meet. He does however state "The Ministry is going to prepare a public discussion document with some recommended changes to the management regime and all stakeholders will get the opportunity to comment on it before I make my decisions. Until this time the focus is on ensuring that everyone is up to speed to contribute to an informed public debate" . Still nothing heard from his Ministry.

May 2002 - option4 writes to the Minister https://option4.co.nz/letter39.htm expressing concern that the process has stalled - nothing is happening.

June 2002 - Pete Hodgson responds https://option4.co.nz/letter41.htm He wrote "With regard to the Action Plan developed by the Ministry of Fisheries earlier this year, officials inform me that the occasional papers are close to being finalised and will be externally reviewed prior to being circulated to interested parties within the next few weeks. I am hopeful that those papers will provide a useful background context from which to discuss the options for moving forward." Still nothing heard from the Ministry.

October 2002 - option4 representatives receive phone calls from a man at the Ministry of Fisheries who states that he has been contracted by the Ministry to fulfill the requirements of the 2001 Cabinet Paper , i.e. present the required Cabinet Paper with the "single option for reform" - on time - (on time equals 1st February 2003) When asked how this objective could be achieved given the process and time line outlined in the "Action Plan" tabled in January, the man from the Ministry claimed that he was unaware such a document had been issued. This conversation occurred on 11/10/02. How bizarre - a graphic illustration of how irrelevant we, the public, are in the minds eye of the Ministry. The conversation concluded with a confirmation of the firm intentions of the Ministry to deliver their paper on time. There were questions as to whether or not any further consultation was in fact required before tabling the cabinet paper to the Minister.

So here we are in November 2002 - not a written word from the Ministry to explain delays, no sign of any "Occasional Papers" or seminar invitation. Simply put, a complete lack of performance and zero professionalism for some 9 months out of a scheduled process timeline of 13 months. This is typical of the attitude and manner of this Ministry. They say the Minister has them doing other work - the Minister tells us papers were to be released within weeks - some 5 months ago. Who are we to believe?

Are we to see "a single option for reform" tabled to Cabinet with no opportunity to have input? Is this a process you feel comfortable with? The Soundings public consultation process was farcical - the analysis of response from the public was farcical. Nothing has changed other than a few spanners in the works of what is obviously a very predetermined plan by the Ministry to strip us of our rights to catch our fish and see that every available, unaccounted for fish is made available to the fishing industry. This is simply not good enough. These people have to wake up and accept that they are public servants being paid to serve the public of this country. This Ministry have long ago lost sight of this fundamental. It is high time they were dragged into line and made accountable for the series of failed fisheries, failed processes and embarrassed Ministers they have left in their wake.


The Minister, Pete Hodgson, has just issued a written invitation to six people to attend his office on the 16th December to discuss the process (or lack thereof) with him and his officials. This meeting will be critical - we don't have much detail to share with you at this stage. Hopefully, there will be a good minute kept of this meeting.

Regards from the team at option4