Fisheries Minister Asked to Explain Broken QMS Promise
by Dick Featherstone
The Marlborough Recreational Fishers Association (MRFA) has hit back at Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash over Labour’s decision not to hold an enquiry into the Quota Management system, as Labour promised prior to the 2017 election.
MRFA chairman Peter Watson said MRFA and other recreational groups had heartened by Labour’s pre-election promise to conduct an independent credible enquiry into the QMS.
“But now there is deep concern that Labour has dishonoured this pledge by a simple comment in the “NZ Herald” in February. So much for political integrity and honour,” he said.
MRFA wrote to Minister Nash but had received a “most unsatisfactory” reply he said.
Other groups are angry at the broken promise. Scoop News reported some months ago that “Council of Outdoor Recreation Council of New Zealand chairman Andi Cockroft said fisheries minister Stuart Nash on 5 February in the “New Zealand Herald” admitted he had abandoned Labour's election pledge to hold an independent review of the fisheries quota system. Greenpeace’s Russel Norman said the broken promise was the work of New Zealand First and its MP Shane Jones, who received a $10,000 donation from corporate fishing company Talley's in 2017.
Andi Cockroft said the “about-turn” by Minister Nash reflected the power and influence of the corporate commercial fishing companies over successive fisheries ministers.”
MRFA’s Peter Watson said Minister Stuart Nash had to realise the true situation as regards the ministry and its relationship with the corporate commercial fishing lobby.
"The ministry understandably comes under strong pressure from the corporates. It is public knowledge that the corporates donate to political parties and individual MPs,” he said.
Newshub on 1 February this year reported "Talley's donated $10,000 to NZ First MP Shane Jones' 2017 campaign.”
"There are also allegations of corporate fishing companies donating to other MPs,” said Peter Watson.
He understood other MPs beside Shane Jones received campaign donations from corporate fishing companies.
"Had Labour honoured its party’s 2017 election promise to conduct an independent credible enquiry then these corporate-MP relationships - arguably of a corrupt nature - would have been aired,” he added.
Peter Watson said Minister Nash had expressed implicit faith in "the competent, knowledgeable people" in the Ministry of Fisheries.
“This is stretching credibility. While respecting that there are indeed some competent officers in the Ministry, the experience of MRFA over the issues of the Marlborough Sounds blue cod closure in 2008 and the subsequent mismanagement and poor decision making of the ministry, King Salmon farm fish deaths, kahawai depletion etc., has left MRFA with little confidence in the bureaucracy,” said Peter Watson
The Marlborough Recreational Fishers’ Association has written to Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash and also to Prime Minister Jacinda Adern over the matter.