Last year our Prime Minister boldly announced to the United Nations that New Zealand was going to create one of the world’s largest ocean sanctuaries. It was intended to establish our sustainability credentials on the biggest international stage. Instead it has turned into a complex political and policy tangle that some say is threatening the stability of the National Government.
John Key made his announcement about the creation of the 620,000 square kilometres sanctuary on 29 September 2015 during his ‘leaders’ week’ address at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. He said, “The Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary will be one of the world’s largest and most significant fully-protected areas… It will cover 15 per cent of New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, an area twice the size of our landmass, and 50 times the size of our largest national park in Fiordland… All forms of fishing and mining will be prohibited…”
The announcement was shrouded in secrecy. The Minister in charge of what was dubbed “Project Sunday”, Nick Smith, even went so far as to write his own Cabinet Paper. Officials were not asked to prepare a regulatory impact statement to inform Cabinet of the options and risks associated with the proposal – before they made their decision – even though a failure to do so was a breach of Cabinet protocols. Those in the fishing industry, who were going to be directly affected, were only notified a few hours before the announcement was made, as were the two northern iwi with the closest association with the Kermadecs, Ngati Kuri and Te Aupouri, who were hailed as being supporters. Even the National Party caucus was not advised of the deal before the announcement.
With the UN’s focus at the time on sustainable development, Mr Key and his advisors clearly thought the creation of the sanctuary would become a major public relations victory. But it seems they had learnt nothing from the widespread public dismay that followed the secret signing of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples in New York in 2010. They should have known such Government ‘surprises’ can easily turn into disasters.
Looking back, it is clear that the biggest mistake in the Kermadec affair was that good quality advice was not provided to Cabinet before the decision to proceed was made, despite it being a Cabinet Office requirement.
The Cabinet Manual is unequivocal about this – Regulatory Impact Assessments and Statements must be prepared before any policy proposals are submitted to Cabinet. The regulatory impact framework has been put in place to encourage an evidence-based approach to policy development. It is meant to ensure that all practical options for addressing a problem have been properly considered and that the benefits of the preferred course of action not only exceed the costs, but will also deliver the highest level of net gain.
The manual explains that regulatory impact analyses are to be prepared by government agencies, before Cabinet papers are drafted, in order to provide their best advice on the issues involved in policy development – especially when new legislation is being proposed. The information provided is to be comprehensive and should include an analysis of the costs, benefits, and risks associated with a project, an outline of the consultation requirements, and plans for implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.
In addition, independent quality assurance on the advice provided to Cabinet must be undertaken – usually by a specialist group within Treasury – and a statement on their findings must be provided in the Cabinet paper.
However, owing to the secrecy and urgency of the project, the comprehensive advice that should have accompanied the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary proposal, when it was submitted to Cabinet for approval, was missing.
Nick Smith admitted this in his Kermadec Cabinet paper when he said, “The regulatory impact analysis requirements apply to this paper but a Regulatory Impact Statement has not been provided. On that basis, Cabinet’s requirements and the quality assurance criteria for regulatory proposals have not been met.”
He then went on to say, “However, officials consider the paper adequately considers the impacts of the proposals on existing users”.
How wrong they were.
This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator Canterbury University Law Lecturer David Round, outlines events following the UN announcement:
“Parliament is now considering a Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill. But there’s many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip. Te Ohu Kaimoana, the Maori Fisheries Commission, which is in charge of administering the Maori share of our fisheries resources, lodged a statement of claim in the High Court a couple of months ago, alleging inadequate consultation by the Crown and also complaining that Maori fishing rights are being overridden. Fighting words!
“The Commission was not concerned about the costs of legal action, because it has a ‘large war-chest’. But evidently those fighting words did not frighten the government quite enough, for now the news arrives that the Commission is urging the Maori Party to ‘seriously consider’ walking away from its ‘relationship’ with the National Party. The Commission claims that the interference with Maori fishing rights is as serious, if not more so, than Labour’s foreshore and seabed legislation.
“The New Zealand Fishing Industry Association has also filed legal proceedings, and an umbrella group, Seafood New Zealand, has asked Parliament to put the bill establishing the sanctuary on hold for the time being. They express concerns about property rights, poor processes and inadequate advice.”
So what are the main concerns of these groups? For the fishing industry, it’s a property right issue.
As Seafood New Zealand explains in their submission to Parliament, the Quota Management System (QMS) underpins our fisheries management regime. Through the ownership of quota, the right to harvest a proportion of the total allowable commercial catch of a fish stock in an area in perpetuity is provided, creating a genuine stake in the long-term sustainability of the species and the marine environment. The security of quota is paramount to the integrity of the system.
When the QMS was established in 1986, New Zealand’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) was divided into ten Fisheries Management Areas (FMA) with separate quota available for each individual species. At the time, 27 species were introduced into the QMS, whereas today there are 97 species, due in part to improvements in fishing techniques along with the development of new markets. Whenever a new species enters the system, a catch limit is set and quota shares in the commercial fishery are then allocated.
Fisheries Management Area 10 takes in the whole Kermadec region out to the edge of New Zealand’s EEZ. The immediate area surrounding the Kermadec Islands, out to the 12 nautical mile Territorial Sea limit, is an existing marine reserve that was established in 1990. In addition, a bottom trawling ban was put in place in 2007, creating a Benthic Protected Area.
The fish targeted in FMA 10 by quota holders include the highly migratory species of Tuna and Swordfish. In his Cabinet paper Nick Smith claims that the quantity (20 tons) and value ($164,000) of the fish taken in the area is so small, that it doesn’t matter. He also maintains that because the fish are migratory, they can be caught elsewhere.
But that’s not how those involved see it. There are some 66 fish stocks with separate quota in FMA 10, and 15 with combined quota. While many of these species are not migratory, the continued presence of large numbers of foreign vessels in the waters adjacent to FMA 10 are a reminder, not only of the value of the fisheries resource in the area, but of the detrimental impact a fishing ban would have on the tuna industry, since few other tuna are available in New Zealand waters during the three months or so of the year when they pass through the Kermadec region.
In addition to quota for specified species, ‘nominal’ quota also exists in FMA 10, to cover the eventuality that other commercially viable fisheries are discovered. These shares are largely held by the Crown, with a small proportion held by the Maori Fisheries Commission, which was allocated 840 million of these FMA 10 quota shares as part of their 1992 Treaty of Waitangi fisheries settlement. The Minister, in his Cabinet paper, described them as an “administrative quirk” because they have never been used, but the Commission does not agree. They regard the nominal quota as an asset of future potential value which they believe will one day be realised as technology improves.
The fishing industry is of the view that the Government’s intention to extinguish quota, without the consent of the owners of the rights and without compensation, threatens to undermine the whole system. As the Seafood Council explains, the Bill “will undermine the integrity of the QMS with consequences that will reverberate through all New Zealand’s fisheries. When there is uncertainty about future stock abundance or spatial access to fisheries, quota value typically declines. If quota rights are perceived to be at risk of being rendered worthless, quota owners have little incentive to protect the long-term sustainability of fish stocks. Maintaining the value of quota is therefore important for the effective operation of the QMS. A regulatory taking of harvest rights on the scale perpetrated by the Bill will increase future risk and uncertainty for all quota owners, potentially reducing quota value and eroding the incentives that the QMS establishes for responsible, sustainable management of New Zealand’s fisheries.”
In his Cabinet paper, Nick Smith claims he has the right to cancel quota without compensation: “I propose that no compensation is paid to Highly Migratory Species quota holders on creation of the Sanctuary because it is a measure taken for sustainability purposes. This approach is consistent with the Marine Reserves Act 1971, has similar effect to the Fisheries Act 1996 and is consistent with the proposed approach in the proposed Marine Protection Area Act for establishing marine reserves, species-specific sanctuaries and seabed reserves.”
The industry disagrees and states, “the approach to compensation in the Kermadec Sanctuary Bill is inconsistent with the Marine Reserves Act and the Fisheries Act. The Marine Reserves Act is silent on compensation, thereby allowing affected parties to put forward a case for compensation under New Zealand law. In contrast, the Bill in Schedule 1 clause 1 explicitly precludes the payment of compensation. The Fisheries Act protects the Crown from liability for compensation only for measures imposed for sustainability purposes. In light of the low level of fishing in FMA10 and the existence of the Benthic Protected Area, the Sanctuary cannot be justified in fisheries sustainability terms. The Crown is therefore not protected from the payment of compensation under the Fisheries Act. Like the Marine Reserves Act, but unlike the Bill, the Fisheries Act leaves it open to affected parties to take a legal case for compensation for damages.”
In April, the seafood industry filed proceedings in the High Court contesting the Government’s unilateral move to establish the sanctuary without recognising the existing rights of quota holders. That followed the High Court action lodged by the Maori Fishing Commission in March, alleging that the Bill not only confiscates their property rights, but also undermines their Treaty settlement.
So against a backdrop of a Minister providing inadequate information to Cabinet, arguing that his Government has the right to establish the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary without due process, some of National’s support partners have now added to the chaos by signalling their opposition to the Bill.
While Nick Smith remains steadfast in his view that his way is the right way, the Deputy Prime Minister Bill English has now taken over negotiations.
There is no doubt this matter will not proceed as smoothly as Nick Smith would wish. One can only hope that the Government has learnt a lesson that in our democracy, arrogance is not a virtue – due process and fair play remain paramount.
THIS WEEK’S POLL ASKS:
Do you believe the Government should be able to confiscate fishing quota rights without compensation?
*Poll comments are posted below.
*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.
THIS WEEK’S POLL COMMENTS
|Without compensation – democracy??||Michael|
|If they can then the whole QMS is finished||michael|
|Would do no harm.||dene|
|A fishing quota is just an “allocation” of a quantity of fish that is allowed to be caught with the methods approved. It is not a property “right”, so can be removed as the Govt or administrators sees fit. Therefore no compensation is needed. Sure it might be expected AND Govts may think it is expedient for vote-buying?To spend taxpayers money on this kind of indulgence is just the kind of perverted democracy that we are getting so conditioned to. So, yes, Govt should have the power to give [quotas] and take away whatever and whenever they like…. with or without compensation. That’s what we elected them for? The only “rights” We and Maoris have is that we can catch almost any fish within the rules that Govt [MPI] makes and we abide by. That is a different sort of “right” than a ‘quota’ allocation which is just that… [not a right]. It is an allocation that can go up or down as MPI sees fit.||Ced|
|If these quota’s have been sold or leased to non New Zealand companies||Wendy|
|They were foolish to create and gift all this quota in the first place. Initial foolish largesse and now Nick Smith’s behaviour, will be costly both financially and politically.||john|
|Should I be fortunate enough to hold a small portion of area that is to be made into a sanctuary and be available for future generations I would freely give my portion to the govt. this area would be made available Scott free, but there again I am not Maori .||Allan|
|The racist Maori Party can walk away from the govt, walk away from Parliament and never come back because next election they will be voted out, as I suspect will Act. Key may have to walk away from the pc mess, National have created on this one.||Monica|
|In the interests of long-term conservation.||Terry|
|They got it for nothing, therefore it is worth nothing.||john|
|We are talking about people’s livelihoods here, husbands, woman, children! What will happen to them?||Theodorus|
|Maori should not be privileged any further||laurie|
|The fish stocks do not belong to anyone in the first instance. We need to start rebuilding reserves for future generations. The Maori way is live for today as greed creeps further into their culture and not preserve for tomorrow as they wish us to believe.||Wayne|
|The sanctuaries that have been created so far are too widely spaced to be of any real value. I do not understand what the value is in creating one in the Kermadec area. It appears to be a purely political move.||Ann|
|Compensation for what? They never bought quota. Greed, and more greed for money. Just imagine these natives of somewhere paddling their homemade canoes up into the great beyond – yeah right! Time for our pollies to say NO and mean it.||Carolyn|
|My affirmation is based on the available data put forward by the minister being substantiated. If so, protection of the species is paramount.||Chris|
|Who has fishing rights? Maori have never fished the area which is already a conservation fishing reserve centred on Raoul island. Why should we pay the greedy for fishing rights in an area they have never fished.||jeff|
|The Quota Management system is a diabolical farce with thousands of tons of edible species being dumped due to the specific species named in the QMA. It is not sustainable and is a bloody waste of good food.||Maureen Joan|
|In the first place parties were given free their quota – how come you have to pay them to remove it!!!||John|
|Normally I am against such moves; but in regard to fisheries we need to remember that Maori groups have sold their claimed birthright to foreign investors. Their main interest was monetary. We need to protect our national interests for the nation.||Peter|
|The government has a responsibility to ALL NZ citizens, not just the self styled ‘Indigenous”?||Bob|
|After all they were given to them in the first instance???||Peter|
|Quotas are silly. I would just limit the number of boats and the time that they can spend fishing.||K|
|I believe it is up to the government to manage fishing quotas, and if that includes reducing quotas to zero, then so be it. Having said that, I also believe that legal processes and procedures need to be followed so it becomes more than just a “I think it’s a good idea” type of approach. Unfortunately this government has a track record of not going through proper procedures and processes when “they think” it is the right thing to do. This is why Winston is going to be the next leader of New Zealand’s Government, and all these racist policies that National are implementing will be toast.||Neil|
|If its for the Kermadecs specifically then yes. But not for other quota. The QMS has plenty of holes and gaps, especially about prosecuting transgressors, and by catch, so I do not think for the Kermadecs its a big deal. And no Maori fished there 200 yrs ago incidentally.||Jeremy|
|The poor compensation that was given to farmers in the 50s when hydro dams were being built is a good indicator of the power of the government.||Andrew|
|Obviously the formation of a fishing sanctuary is a special event and as the name suggest means that all species within the area are protected. This applies to everyone regardless of race or creed or negotiable entitlements regarding to to other areas and situations. Simple put, the National Government has bee too generous to Maori in all their dealings and only have themselves to blame for the Maori sense of entitlement.. Be aware that Maori care nothing but themselves and have no concern for the well being of anyone but themselves in any and all situation concerning New Zealand. Their greed and selfishness continues to grow at a huge cost to the rest of us.||William|
|Just so long as this does not mean continuing to penalize the recreational fishermen for the benefit of those who pillage the oceans – the commercial industry. Quota should only apply outside our inshore zone with no commercial take at all in the inshore zone.||Alastair|
|If a contract has compensation clause then the Government is in breach of that contract no excuse. The same situation would apply in the private sector.||ken|
|because Maori were fish eaters does not equate to a fishing industry||John|
|Nor should they have been able to take property rights without compensation as they have done with the implementation of SNAs.||Elizabeth|
|It is shabby treatment to behave in such a way||Harvey|
|NO, A Quota allocation was never a ‘right’ and therefore needs no compensation as such. For the Maoris or for any Commercial Fishing activity, apart from the allocation [quota] being created to be something, from nothing, i.e. a gift from the NZ taxpayer to Maori, or Com Fishos. If the ill-gained wealth or commercial free-bee still exists with a reduced fishing area, like all quota holders, what’s the problem….except greed? Let us be clear, Maori were never able to fish, either recreationally or commercially [they may have got some else to do it for them] in the Kermadecs. Their claim to that quota allocation is fraudulent, and the ‘rights’ and beliefs though their ‘myths and legends of Maori-Dom ‘or historical here-say’, are just that.. as ‘creative’ as they are ‘real’?.||Ced|
|The Kermadec fishing situation is just another example the undemocratic, racist stance taken by some Moari.||Miles|
|I have no confidence in Nick Smith. He is well past his use by date, his management has been a disaster. Everything he touches turns to custard such as the mess he made of the water rights issue. We urgently need National Environment Standards – missing ever since the EPA was founded.||david|
|Only way forward!||Jim|
|Yes of course, it ais fter all a resource that belongs to everyone not owned by any one group||Neville|
|In this instance “yes”. I whole heartedly agree with this sanctuary-we need to look after fish stocks. I am tired of rape and pillage of the sea’s.||Sheena|
|Especially when either the fish stock is at risk or the holders of the fishing rights are not fully using them.||John|
|I really don’t know enough about it to comment but I am disappointed that firstly the quota was given because Maori never had the capacity to fish the area, secondly I understand that they have not fished the area since they received the quota and thirdly that they are playing hardball as usual without accepting the basic principal of creating a zone where fish can breed and multiply. They don’t seem to be interested in anything but the financial effect rather than what is good for the future||mike|
|The government creates fishing rights from nothing. It should be able to cancel them the same way.||Richard|
|we need to protect fish stocks, stop greedy people poaching what is left!||gerard|
|saying no but depending on the circumstances, maybe yes in some circumstances||wayne|
|Yes, if it is found that the quota system is being abused by anyone. But according to official reports the value of fish take from the Kermadecs is very little per year so Government should pay this amount out in this particular case. We know Maori change their “official” tack every time something like this comes up to suit themselves, and always claim it is included in the Treaty, which is a load of crap. Unfortunately we have a Treaty minister who supports them every time whether they are right or wrong. Nick Smith hasn’t helped the way he has handled this situation. What a mess.||Rog|
|In this case YES. Let us be clear here about two things . First –This “Maori Party” has no interest whatsoever to cooperate ( as a coalition partner) for the good and welfare our country. We have not heard of one example where there was constructive team work executed . We only hear about one demand after the other. Second:– Maori Fisheries CEO’s have ( as all the other leading figures ) in this global industry realized , that the massive depletion of fish stocks to the point of no recovery is not far away.They want to secure the last commercially viable sources for themselves for naked financial gain. That is it in a nutshell. What is especially abrasive is that these Tribal Leaders have resorted at every turn to employ the legal system right up to the High Court and beyond to drive their demands. Guess who is paying for all that. Not themselves – THE TAXPAYER is being bled white.The tyranny of this minority is so annoying by now it becomes unbearable.||Michael|
|Our oceans are under more threat than ever. It is more important to set up some marine reserves than wory about a some fisheries rights. The quota system is flawed and needs to be changed anyway.||Sam|
|If you are doing the wrong thing in fishing and not following the law like we all should be doing then confiscate. People should know the law and what is right and wrong.||Robert|
|Confirms my thoughts that NZ is a dictatorship.||John|
|The original assignment of quota has a dubious rationale and has by historical fact never been utilized so in this case if long term sovereign interests are served by preventing the sale of those interests in sub form to foreign interests such as a sale to China, then I say yes let the government extinguish the unused quota in favor of a sanctuary in the National interest. Compensation should only apply to a resource that is used and depended upon, no such use appears to be relevant in this case. Key should be supported.||Richard|
|They are getting too big for their boots and think they are the only ones with the right to arbitrarily change things without consultation with the people most affected as far as livelihoods and ongoing work is concerned. Wake up National there are other people living in this country over 4 million of them to share the news with and consult||Laurel|
|When done responsibly||Dennis|
|They got the rights for nothing and have never used them. Why do we have to compensate them.||Colin|
|Arrogance has been the downfall of many governments and Nick Smith’s stance has arrogance written all over it.||Peter|
|However, the Government should never take the populist path when making unqualified statements and decisions such as the Kermadec one. Such decisions affect those whose livelihood is far from the safety of the Minister’s desk.||David|
|It is high time the whole Quota Management system was overhauled, especially in regard to commercial netting and foreign vessels under licence inside the 12 mile limit.||Rod|
|The quota rights were given to these people for nothing,why should they get compensation.||Jeff|
|Maori fishing rights are a farce and should all be confiscated.||Ian|
|On Y of the quota were paid for in the first place then compensation should be paid if confiscated.||Derek|
|But – National has gone the wrong way about dealing with other parties..Also, `due diligence’ should have been done.||Elayne|
|I’m concerned that Maori are wanting more than I think they have a right to. I’m happy for most things NZ to include their input, better to have people working together than fighting, but to me this are is nothing to do with them – sadly I sense the ‘greed gene’ here.||Ann|
|I believe that is a sovereign decision by a democratically elected government made on behalf of all NZ.||Gavin|
|We need to be able to create sanctuaries to protect the long tern viability of fish stocks.||Bryan|
|Just another John Key strategy to keep his name out there on the international political stage,as is his backing of Linda Clark.||Malcolm|
|Of course it should. As I understand it the original quotas were allocated at no cost to the recipients anyway. This is just another case of the constant sickening Maori claims . If this government once again gives into them their ratings must surely drop.||Mike|
|They only want to remove what was never really theirs in the first place.||Edward|
|Of course they can,they are “The Government”.||Peter|
|That is what they were voted intopower to look after our country.||Don|
|No, not without the agreement of the affected quota holders in a sustainability situation.||Anthony|
|A relic of Nazi Germany if they did.||Warren|
|If they step over the line, then they should loose the right to their quota – no arguments!!||Pierre|
|Start by sacking Nick Smith.Incompetent. Then stop this pandering over the Maori who have never fished the area.||Lance|
|Maori will take forever if allowed.||Allen|
|Much as I believe that the fishing industry is a plundering industry, property rights are property rights. The Nats were shameful in introducing Labours RMA, withhout making provision for compensation of lost property rights and it appears they are at it again. SHAME ON THEM.||Willy|
|Of course they are the government when all said and done.||Ian|
|Should Government see a need to confiscate fishing quota to preserve the sustainability of that resource in perpetuity the thinking people who believe in sustain ability surly would agree.||John|
|That would set a dangerous precedent. I say take the catch in the area over the last (say) 10 years, average the amount and pay annual compensation on that basis.||Lesley|
|Yes if they haven’t been used in the last 12 months and without notification or caught breaking the rules. Maori for example wouldn`t stand a chance of fishing them from canoes, their traditional ways. Customary/indigenous (questionable.) are rights ways of milking hopeless Politian’s whom have stood the test of time, showing no signs of aging like G Palmer.||Robert|
|It is SO stupid it will become political suicide like a lot of other underhand inferences.||Ian|
|Although “given” quota when it was first introduced some compensation is required – perhaps 5yrs x quota value lost/yr||A|
|You cannot expect payment for a venture or an exercise that has never happened.||Monty|
|Probably not really a fair question, perhaps should have been more specific to the Kermadec issue rather than across the whole spectrum. So far as the Kermadecs is concerned, YES ! there is is and has been no activity for decades, if ever; so nobody’s livelihood is affected and the area will provide stock which will be caught outside the sanctuary as fish populations increase unhindered.||Alan|
|It is only fair they were not meant to be used as a security for ever.||Joan|
|Quota is a gift from Crown, not a right. In prudent management of resources quota must be subject to sound advice on fish stocks. Ergo, as a grant the quantum of Quota must necessarily be manageable. In circumstances it might even be rarely necessary to withdraw the authority of Quota. It would be unaffordable to pay compensation, so let us not see that ball start rolling. No compensation for reduction nor stopping.||Leo|
|Sadly, another example of an overconfident National being happy to ignore due process and ride roughshod!||Glyn|
|While confiscation of fishing rights should surely require compensation the amount of compensation should be low if those fishing rights were not being greatly used.||Rob|
|Put a stop to these egregious claims.||Chris|
|Yeah, as long as they follow due process.||Mark|
|They are the government and they can do anything besides I can’t see many people paddling their whaka out that far.||Peter|
|If this were to happen, a valid and legal issue MUST be the driver for the argument. Indiscriminate action for some perceived wrong, needs to be totally investigated.||John|
|As I understand it, fishing rights were originally bought and paid for as if they were a fixed commodity. If that is indeed the case, then the government must buy them back at market value. If not, then confiscation would surely equal an act of nationalization.||Dianna|
|Fair go, mate.||Ross|
|More Shonkey arrogance.||Greg|
|Stop pussy footing around and just do it.||Kevin|
|Anything given (benefits or the like) is always hard to take back, even though the benefit was given freely in the first place. Yes I do believe that there are instances when this can be done BUT due process should have been carried out before hand, as certainly and for sure, the Iwi will fight all the way without fear to get what they want, even though a sanctuary of this size will be a wonderful asset to not only NZ but the world to have such a protected area on our doorstep, something as wonderful as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.||Audrey|
|Again we have maori making deal of the whole thing if it was Maori wanting a reseve at our back door would be a different situation get on with it and create a rexerve and be done with it.||Russlee|
|Why should any individual or entity be made to pay for any social action where they have been legitimately and legally operating? Believe this should happen but not an a minority expense.||Kelvin|
|In this case yes.||Roderick|
|Fish stocks are being wiped out, we need every sanctuary we can get to rebuild stock.||Colin|
|Due process nust be followed and democracy must rule.||Huria|
|In this case where there isn’t and hasn’t been for probably several centuries, any commercial fishing. Arguably, the creation of the sanctuary may improve the fisheries over a much wider area. With their widespread habit of fish dumping the commercial operators hardly merit any special consideration by government.||Alan|
|The government should not be able to confiscate any property rights without compensation – end of story!||Kevin|
|Nick Smith is a disaster – everything he touches turns to custard. Look at the mess he’s made of the water rights issue.||Dan|
|I think the government has made the wrong call on this issue. And all because Key wanted to make a ‘splash’ at the UN. Disgraceful really.||Graeme|
|The government should have the right to create a sanctuary if they want – BUT they should have to pay compensation, not seize property rights.||Chris|
|It is a dangerous precedent to allow a government to destroy property rights. More importantly, they should ditch the whole idea of the sanctuary. It was only done to impress the UN. New Zealanders were not asked if that’s what we wanted.||Barb|