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Friday fish dump stinks

This government has dumped bad news on a Friday to try to avoid political scrutiny in Parliament, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson David Parker.

“Heron QC is to be thanked for a fearless report.

“After years of denials of problems, and attacks on those who made criticisms, the first independent report has turned up serious wrongdoing.

“The report says the cover-up of widespread quota fraud in the industry by senior enforcement personnel was partly caused by concern for their own reputation, after they earlier failed to enforce the law.

“New CEO Dunne is not at fault, but is wrong to say it is time to move on.

“The question of why there was systemic failure in the upper echelons of Ministry for Primary Industries enforcement has still not been properly answered.

“It is fair to question whether the Ministry is too close to the Fishing industry and have put commercial needs well ahead of environmental bottom lines.

“There are also serious questions about the actions of a number of officials over a long period and this needs to be investigated.

“The QMS population modelling used to assess remaining fish stocks may also be wrong, given that it was based on lower than actual catch data. There are many questions yet to be answered, David Parker says.