web analytics

Conflict of interest what conflict of interest?

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, April 3rd, 2017 - 22 comments
Categories: business, journalism, national, russel norman, same old national - Tags: ,

Greenpeace has cast further light on the murky arrangement whereby the fishing industry makes decisions itself on such things as the issuing of licences, the managing and the investigation of claims of overfishing.

From Kirsty Johnston at the Herald:

A company contracted to monitor overfishing, manage quotas and decide on licences for the fishing industry is wholly owned by – and working out of the same office as – the industry’s biggest lobby group.

The extent of government powers held by the company, named FishServe, and its links to the industry group, Seafood New Zealand, were uncovered by investigators at Greenpeace.

For the past 20 years the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has been outsourcing a swathe of monitoring duties to FishServe, the investigation found, including checking quota compliance and receiving catch reports.

“What this means in practice is that, in order to prosecute fishing companies for legal breaches, the government regulator, MPI, has to rely on data collected and provided by a company owned by the fishing companies themselves, FishServe,” said Greenpeace New Zealand executive director Russel Norman.

The company, Commercial Fisheries Services Limited, has some striking links with Industry lobby entity Seafood New Zealand Limited.  Both companies share the same office and the same receptionist as well as the same managing director Tim Pankhurst.  And Fishserve is wholly owned by Seafood.

Of course there is no conflict of interest.  None whatsoever.

At least a spokesperson for Fishserve thinks there is no problem.  She was quoted as saying this:

She said although FishServe was a wholly owned subsidiary of Seafood New Zealand, it was also an approved service delivery organisation in its own right, established under government statute.

“This has been the case since 2001. It has its own dedicated chief executive and staff, who do not report directly to SNZ. It is funded through collection of fees from the industry.”

And this was backed up by responsible Minister Nathan Guy.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said there was no conflict of interest, because FishServe was “an administrative tool”, and had no regulatory function.

“It is like a mailbox for collecting data,” he said. “It has been publicly operating for over 20 years with no issue, and with a range of checks and balances on the data collected.”

Guy’s claim that it has no regulatory function needs some investigation.  Under this regulation in 2013 it was given a number of functions, duties and powers previously held by the Chief Executive.  There is a huge list of them relating to the management of fishing quota.  For instance they include the power to decide that an owner of an interest in fishing quote without the necessary consent should forfeit that quota.  There is also the power to require someone who has aggregated too much quota to forfeit that quota.  These powers are surely greater than the simple collection of data.

If the powers are so mundane then why not retain the public register?

And the system appears to be broken.  A high level inquiry led by Mike Heron QC decided last year that there were instances where MPI’s decision making process regarding to prosecutions was confused, not well documented and not well communicated.  Having a private entity controlled by the fishing industry responsible for a large chunk of MPI’s statutory duties including the collection of evidence will only make things worse.

Greenpeace’s Russell Norman sums the situation up well.  Again from the Herald:

Greenpeace New Zealand executive director Russel Norman said he believed the situation was an example of “regulatory capture”, borne from a “web of complex relationships” between MPI and industry.

“What it means in practice is that, in order to prosecute fishing companies for legal breaches, the government regulator, MPI, has to rely on data collected and provided by a company owned by the fishing companies themselves, FishServe,” he said.

“This is something that at the very least warrants further investigation and we’ll be looking to refer this to the Auditor General for review.”

22 comments on “Conflict of interest what conflict of interest? ”

  1. ianmac 1

    Yet another example of airy fairy left wing conspiracy setting out to try and bother a Government which is working hard to do the right thing for every fish and every New Zealander. Hmmph!
    And the NZDF has never ever deployed in the Tasman Sea so Russell Norman’s claims are rubbish! Rubbish I say!

    • mickysavage 1.1

      🙂

    • AB 1.2

      More corporate theft of a natural asset that belongs equally to all citizens within a proper framework of sustainability.
      Just like water. So hands off our fish!

  2. Ad 2

    It’s the fishing company leverages over Ministers that bug me.

    Seeing the Maori Party fold to corporate Maori fishing interests about the Kermadec reserve proposal was bad.

    Seeing those other big fishing companies on the National Party donors list is creepy.

    And head of Talleys getting knighted. Ultra anti-workers’ rights.

    It’s not as if they deliver massive value-add to their products to defend them on productivity grounds.

    Will take an almighty tough future Minister to unpack any of it. I’m pessimistic.

    • mickysavage 2.1

      One of the Talleys is a director of Seafood New Zealand Limited …

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      Seeing those other big fishing companies on the National Party donors list is creepy.

      Corporations should not be able to donate to political parties at all.
      Lobbying should be banned.

      And head of Talleys getting knighted. Ultra anti-workers’ rights

      People should only be knighted if they’ve been of service to our society and made it better. Talley got knighted for services to business and those ‘services’ have made our society worse off.

      • To ban lobbying you’d essentially need to ban writing letters to MPs. Better to regulate lobbying so it doesn’t have an oversized impact compared to normal communication from constituents. (Banning paid lobbyists from lobbying on Parliament Grounds is one step. I think currently we just identify them on the idealistic theory that politicians will ignore a lobby with enough spare cash to hire paid lobbyists)

        There’s a reasonable argument for banning corporate donations, (ie. they’re not people and thus have no business supporting politicians, and it inherently creates a perception of corruption to have the businesses themselves doing the donating rather than, say, their owners) or even putting caps on donation amounts in general. (ie. busy people should absolutely be able to donate money instead of time, but maybe not tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars per campaign, as past the point of donating the average wage, you’ve essentially bought more labour than you could have donated)

        The trick is doing this without the National Party spinning it into an assault on free speech.

        • gsays 2.2.1.1

          thanks matthew for shedding some light.
          i would like to be rid of the ‘business interest’ lobbyists.

      • Wensleydale 2.2.2

        I’ve always thought the word ‘knight’ has been bandied about with gay abandon for so long it’s become almost meaningless. If we really wanted to sort the wheat from the chaff in terms of knighthoods, we must hold a tourney. All these doddering old robber barons who aspire to knighthood will be compelled to don full plate armour, and bludgeon each other into submission with axes and morning stars. If you’re still standing at the end of it, well done old chap, you’ve just passed muster. If you soil yourself, curl into the foetal position and start crying for your mum, tough luck, try again next year.

        I’m guessing Talley would fall squarely into the latter category.

      • rob 2.2.3

        Look up national party president Peter goodfellow and his interests in commercial fishing!

  3. Antoine 3

    Is the monitoring role tendered regularly, or simply assigned to FishServe by law?

    It would seem better practice to have a competitive tender every X years, unless there is some reason why only FishServe can ever provide this service.

    A.

    • It would also seem reasonable to have a non-capture clause in such a tender that the monitoring agency can’t be owned by anyone with significant stakes in the industry.

    • mickysavage 3.2

      They have their status for the next six years unless Government changes its mind.

      • Antoine 3.2.1

        Doesn’t seem ideal.

        • mickysavage 3.2.1.1

          Not being ideal is one way to describe it.

          There are others, like insane and you have got to be kidding …

        • AB 3.2.1.2

          I see Google Translate now supports ‘Antoinese’. Not as you might expect a sub-dialect of Cantonese but an entirely new language spoken in boardrooms, leafy suburbs and a venerable restaurant in Parnell owned by a regular National Party donor. Anyway I plugged in the Antoinese-to-English translation:
          “Doesn’t seem ideal” = Corrupt

  4. adam 4

    Look Squirrel…

  5. Tamati Tautuhi 5

    The President of the National Party, Peter Goodfellow, his Family Trust is the largest shareholder in Sanfords, one of New Zealands largest fishing companies.

  6. JC 6

    WTF!… Not just here but through out the Pacific!

    Their visit followed an invitation from Prime Minister John Key at the Pacific Fisheries Forum last year, offering island nations to “examine New Zealand’s catch-based fisheries management systems” (C-BFM).

    “In Wellington, the New Zealand seafood industry-owned FishServe, which administers and manages commercial fishing quotas in the country, outlined how it helps manage 100 quota species, 635 quota stocks; and annual catch entitlements of 610,000 tonnes across 1,537 quota share owners, 1,050 permit holders and 1,200 vessels.”

    http://www.seafood.co.nz/news-events/features/single/item/pacific-fisheries-ministers-learn-about-new-zealands-unique-fisheries-management/

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community benefits from Māori apprenticeships
    Up to 50 Māori apprentices in Wellington will receive paid training to build houses for their local communities, thanks to a $2.75 million investment from the Māori Trades and Training Fund, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Ngāti Toa Rangatira Incorporated to provide its Ngā Kaimahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Training fund supports Māori jobseekers
    Rapidly growing sectors will benefit from a $990,000 Māori Trades and Training Fund investment which will see Wellington jobseekers supported into work, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Sapphire Consultants Ltd. to help up to 45 Māori jobseekers into paid training initiatives over two years through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruakura Inland Port development vital infrastructure for Waikato
    The Government is investing $40 million to develop an inland port at Ruakura which will become a freight super-hub and a future business, research and residential development for the Waikato, Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The funding has been has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Appointments made to Defence Expert Review Group
    Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today the establishment of an Expert Review Group to review a number of aspects of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) structure, information management and record-keeping processes.  The Expert Review Group’s work arises out of the first recommendation from the Report of the Government’s Inquiry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • No active community cases of COVID-19
    There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining in the country after the last people from the recent outbreak have recovered from the virus, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus. The systems ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clean energy upgrade for more public buildings
    More public buildings will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. Minister Shaw announced that Lincoln and Auckland universities will receive support through the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to replace fossil fuel boilers. Southern, Taranaki, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Schools back donations scheme for the second year
    More schools have opted in to the donations scheme for 2021, compared to 2020 when the scheme was introduced. “The families of more than 447,000 students will be better off next year, with 94% of eligible schools and kura opting into the scheme,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruapehu cycle trails gets PGF boost
    The spectacular Mountains to Sea cycle trail in Ruapehu District will receive $4.6 million in funding from the Provincial Growth Fund for two additional trails, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This is an exciting development for the local community, and one that will provide significant economic opportunities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Update to air border order strengthens crew requirements
    Additional measures coming into effect on Monday will boost our defence against COVID-19 entering New Zealand through the air border, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “As part of our precautionary approach and strategy of constant review, we’re tightening the requirements around international aircrew,” Chris Hipkins said. The COVID-19 Public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • A true picture of Māori business activity
    A better picture of the contribution Māori businesses make to the economy will be possible with changes to the way information is collected about companies and trading enterprises. Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash have announced a new option for Māori enterprises who are part ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • PGF funding for Taranaki projects
    The South Taranaki museum, a New Plymouth distillery and a Pasifika building firm will benefit from a Government investment totalling more than $1 million, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. The $1.05m in grants and loans from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will help the recipients expand and create ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Fijian Language Week 2020 inspires courage and strength during COVID-19 pandemic
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says the theme for the 2020 Fijian Language Week reflects the strong belief by Fijians that their language and culture inspires courage and strength that is strongly needed in times of emergencies, or through a significant challenge like the global COVID-19 pandemic ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Trades training builds on iwi aspirations
    An investment of $2.025 million from the Māori Trades and Training Fund will support Māori to learn new skills while making a positive difference for their communities, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “K3 Development Limited Partnership will receive $2,025,000 for its Takitimu Tuanui apprenticeship programme, which will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Conservation Minister plants two millionth tree in Raglan restoration
    A long-term conservation project led by the Whaingaroa Harbour Care group in the western Waikato reaches a significant milestone this week, with the planting of the two millionth tree by the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage. “Planting the two millionth tree crowns 25 years of commitment and partnership involving Whaingaroa ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Seniors – our parents and grandparents
    International Older Persons Day is a chance to think about the individual older New Zealanders we know and to confront ageism, Seniors Minister Tracey Martin said today. “What happened around COVID-19 is a reminder that our over-65s are a very large and diverse group of people and we need to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago