(Address to New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council, Bucklands Beach Yacht Club, Half Moon Bay. Auckland)
In the coalition agreement New Zealand First pledged $100,000 for the recreational fishers’ input into fisheries management. I want to read to you a letter from Mr Luxton relating to this proposal in which he says “I recognise the continued priority associated with this coalition initiative and intend to put forward the proposal as a new initiative for the impending 1998/99 Budget Estimates Process”. This was a coalition undertaking that Mr Luxton and National have simply failed to honour.
We pledged that money because the Recreational Fishing Council represents not just its membership but the interests of three and a half million plus New Zealanders who do, or soon will, go recreational fishing.
New Zealand First has been advised that Recreational Fishers oppose a quota. They believe they own the fishery. They oppose licences. They want the government to manage the fishery and enforce compliance on behalf of all Kiwis. We are also advised by you that your priorities are: 1. Maori 2. Recreational Fishers 3. Commercial.
On the question of Maori and Recreational Fisheries priorities it should be emphasised that customary Maori fishing rights are for the custom not just Maori.
It is an inherent part of New Zealand culture that every New Zealander has the opportunity to fish for food and fun.
Over a million New Zealanders go fishing for fun and food every year.
In New Zealand until 1986 Fisheries belonged to all of us and everybody had the right to catch fish and gather kaimoana. The introduction of fishing quotas in 1986 was the first state asset sale.
NZ First believes our rights and responsibilities need to be clearly established and protected in a world of increasing commercial and other demands.
NZ First believes that recreational fishers should be encouraged to help the Crown to establish an appropriate system for administering and regulating recreational fishing.
NZ First believes that this should be managed regionally, under a national umbrella organisation, such as the Recreational Fishing Council.
NZ first is committed to making sure that recreational, customary and commercial fishers work together for the betterment of all fishers.
Too often fishing interests, that have more in common than not, waste time and energy fighting each other on the points of difference.
NZ First believes that shared management is the key to the sustainability of the fishing resource and recreational fishers should be part of this management system
All recreational fishers should help police the system to ensure that there is no room for poachers and so-called recreational fishers who sell or raffle their catches.
More research and data is needed on current fish stocks and environmental impact studies are needed to ensure that the system being used is sustainable.
NZ First will increase the amount of funding available for research in each of the main areas of fishing, recreational, customary and commercial.
More research will be targeted at documenting and finding ways to minimise the impacts of fishing on the marine eco-system.
GOVERNMENT’S ROLE: While the commercial, recreational and cultural interests will be encouraged to take more responsibility, the Government should maintain its decision-making role and will be the ultimate Authority on behalf of ALL groups.
FINANCE: NZ First would consider a system of financing the administering of the recreational resource by allocating a quota of say, Orange Roughy which could be leased and that money would finance the system. This quota would NEVER be sold.
LICENCES: NZ First is opposed to licensing of saltwater fishers. The fishery is owned by all New Zealanders.
CUSTOMARY: NZ First will ensure that customary fishing rights are protected and that these are properly administered by the appropriate groups.
EDUCATION AND CONSERVATION: NZ First believes that our young people should be educated about the value of fishing and the value of fish as part of the natural resource system. They should be taught that fish should be caught for eating or releasing, and not for any other purpose. They should be taught to share their both their enjoyment and their catch with others.
In short, they should respect the bounty of the ocean and preserve it for future generations.