Media Release 20 December 2006
Ministry of Fisheries Satisfied with Scampi Finding
The Ministry of Fisheries is satisfied with the judgment on an action taken by Scampi fishers and delivered by the High
The action, which relates to events that took place in the early 1990s, by Scampi fishers Trevor Goodship/ Pranfield
Holdings Ltd and United Fisheries, involved claims that the then Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries had acted to
exclude them from the Scampi fishery. The plaintiffs claimed that a breach of statutory duty, negligence and misfeasance
in public office had taken place.
The Court found in favour of MAF’s prior decisions on scampi and no damages were awarded to United. However the Court
found that a declaration by the Court of Appeal in an earlier phase of the litigation was binding and must be given
effect to. Therefore a remedy in damages was awarded to Goodship/Pranfield Holdings Limited of $2.9 million. In both
cases, the claims of misfeasance were found to be unsubstantiated.
“The fact that no evidence of misfeasance was found by the judge is an excellent outcome for the Ministry,” says John
Glaister, Chief Executive.
“We contended in this case and in two previous inquiries into the Scampi fishery that the behaviour of public officials
had been above reproach and as in those inquiries, the integrity of our staff was once again confirmed.
“Justice McKenzie himself notes that the changes in New Zealand’s system of management for commercial fisheries were
among the most far-reaching of the reforms which transformed the New Zealand economy and the approach to economic
management from the mid 1980s.
“We have previously acknowledged that there were some inconsistencies in the administration of permitting during that
time, but these have to be seen as minor in the context of the enormous benefits to our fishery that these changes
introduced. The then Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries created the basis for the sustainable fishery which we enjoy
“Since that time these administrative inconsistencies have been systematically addressed and removed. The Quota
Management System works well and these cases related to it largely date back to the early formative period when it was
“What is important to us is that every suggestion of negligence, dishonesty or corruption on the part of officials of
that Ministry has failed due to a complete lack of evidence. The public can have confidence now as they could then in
the integrity of their officials,” says Dr Glaister.
The particular points of concern about process have been assessed by the court which has awarded very modest damages
compared with the level of the claims.
The parties have until early February to decide whether to appeal the decision.