Troubled fishing parks sink without trace

The fishing parks promised by National at the last election appear to be sinking without trace, says Labour's Fisheries Spokesperson Rino Tirikatene.

“Fifteen months ago the Prime Minister and Nick Smith pledged to create recreational fishing parks in the Hauraki Gulf and Marlborough Sounds. But repeated delays in the publication of a discussion document, let alone the creation of the parks, suggests all is not well behind the scenes. 

"A discussion document was meant to be published in December last year, then in February of this year, and then ‘just before Christmas’. With a week remaining until Christmas, there is still no discussion document, with suggestions it will be delayed until February next year.

"It was clearly a mistake to put Nick Smith in charge of the fishing parks as the Minister has once again not done his homework. Another Nick Smith fiasco is in the making with a number of complex issues including Treaty Settlement rights needing to be resolved along with huge sums in compensation money likely to be paid to commercial fishing operators.

“The parks seemed like a good election campaign gimmick at the time, but National did not bother to do the work and actually talk to stakeholders, which has led to repeated delays and the non delivery of an election promise. The lack of detail provided by the Government has led to recreational fishing groups being sceptical about the planned parks.

“National's fishing parks sounded great on paper, but out on the water they are sinking fast” says Rino Tirikatene.