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Labour’s new Oceans Ministry

Written By: - Date published: 8:19 am, November 3rd, 2020 - 23 comments
Categories: climate change, Conservation, david parker, Environment, food, global warming, jacinda ardern, science, Shane Jones, stuart nash, sustainability - Tags:

One demotion that has not attracted huge attention so far has been that of Stuart Nash.  He has lost the Police portfolio and also that of Fisheries although he has been given the important role of Economic and Regional Development.  In Police I thought he was ok, in Fisheries I have criticised him in the past.

He has some history as was detailed in this earlier Standard post:

He is mates with Cameron Slater. Just read any blog post of Slater’s that does not also include Judith Collins and see how positively he is treated.

He was implicated in an attempt by Simon Lusk to set up a centrist party. Friends of Lusk paid $20,000 to investigate the possiblity. Nash said he torpedoed the idea and did not know about it until the report had been prepared.  Troy Bowker, the person behind the report, disagrees and says Nash told them to see him when the report was completed. Why Nash was having anything to do with one of the people most implicated in Dirty Politics is hard to understand.

He was also implicated in the attempt by Josie Pagani to set up a right wing faction within the Labour Party.

More recently as Fisheries Minister he made the alarming decision to slow down and possibly stop the implementation of monitoring cameras on fishing boats. Talley’s must have been very pleased with that decision. Cabinet considers this decision next week.

On top of that in 2018 at the last minute Nash pulled the pin on a fundraiser that Matthew Hooton had set up a thousand dollar a plate fundraiser for Nash at that most progressive bastion, the Auckland Northern Club.

While he was Fisheries Minister Nash repeatedly refused to install monitoring cameras on fishing boats to deter against activities that could net the endangered Maui’s dolphin.  Even the earlier National Government had decided to implement the scheme.  The fingerprints of New Zealand First, Shane Jones and the Talley brothers on these decisions were pronounced.

In the reshuffle Fisheries has been rebranded as “Oceans and Fisheries” which is a very welcome change of emphasis.  The Government’s policies should address the health of our oceans, fisheries health being an important aspect of this but not the only aspect.  Current fish stock trends are generally disastrous.  But the ocean’s role in acting as a carbon sink and as an indicator of the world’s environmental health will never be more important.  We really need to do better.

Greenpeace thinks that the new emphasis is a good idea.  From its press release:

Greenpeace says today’s Ministerial announcements hold some fantastic news for the sea and everything that lives in it.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that the Fisheries Ministry will get a name change to the Ministry for Oceans and Fisheries.

“The oceans have never had a dedicated portfolio and this change signals that the Government recognises the need to protect our big blue backyard, not simply use it as a resource to be extracted from”, says Greenpeace campaigner Jessica Desmond.

“Not only has Labour put Oceans in the name of the ministry, it comes before the very industry that’s been threatening it, I take that as an encouraging sign.”

Greenpeace says accelerating biodiversity loss is one of the biggest risks facing humanity. Here in New Zealand 80 percent of our native biodiversity lies below the low tide mark.

“The ocean is being pushed to the brink by multiple threats, from overfishing to pollution and climate change.”

Greenpeace sees the appointment of political heavyweight David Parker as vital to meeting these threats.

“Labour’s promises to review the management of New Zealand fisheries were stymied by New Zealand First, but the so-called ‘handbrake’ is off. Now is the chance for transformative change.”

Desmond says Minister Parker must get straight to work.

“David Parker showed his mettle on the freshwater reforms and the synthetic fertiliser cap last term.

We are hoping he’ll apply the same strength of purpose to ensure the long term health of the oceans.”

Parker is an ideal choice for the role.  He is tough, respects the evidence, understands the issues and concentrates on the outcomes that are necessary.  And we really do need to stop treating our oceans as places to plunder food and dump rubbish.

23 comments on “Labour’s new Oceans Ministry ”

  1. tc 1

    I noticed Nash's loss of portfolios as a sign ardern is onto it.

    Twyford being the more obvious demotion media did it's usual crap job of missing Nash's non performance being dealt with.

  2. Stuart Munro 2

    Fisheries is long overdue for a generational reform. It was supposed to happen under Nash – nada. Our littoral resources dwarf the land that produces the so-called dairy boom, but thanks to the de facto monopoly created by the risible QMS they have utterly failed to develop.

    Cameras are, frankly, window dressing. Any business with an employee they need to keep a camera on round the clock would replace the employee. It should be the same with our perennial fisheries lawbreakers – the cost to the country of having to ride herd on these bandits is incalculable. They refuse to develop the resource or New Zealand jobs – they make our dysfunctional real estate parasites look like model citizens.

    Reform would look something like this:

    Establish a genuine fisheries institute producing actual experts rather than the entry level fishers the current industry prefers to exploit.

    Develop sustainable fisheries and sustainable recreational practices with an emphasis on low impact techniques like live capture, seaweed culture, artisanal fisheries and aquaculture other than mass salmonid cage farming.

    Move up the value chain by providing live mussels to Asia instead of the horrid cooked and frozen halfshell rubbish that destroys our reputation in every market. The shipping technology has been around for awhile now.

    Sort out a sane position on Wakami. Wakami, Undaria Pinnatifida, is considered an invasive species by DoC and is sporadically if somewhat ineffectually "controlled". It is also a premium source of the umami flavour, and prized in some markets.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Any business with an employee they need to keep a camera on round the clock would replace the employee.

      No, they won't, they'll get the cameras. They'll get the cameras even if they don't need to keep an eye on the employee.

      It's what McDs did when I was there.

      They refuse to develop the resource

      Its pretty much impossible to develop the resource. All that can be done is drag it out of the water. What the QMS was for was to make that dragging sustainable and it failed at doing that because the fishers were purposefully misreporting their catch so that they could catch more and thus make more profit.

      That's what the cameras on fishing boats are for – to count the catch.

      Move up the value chain by providing live mussels to Asia instead of the horrid cooked and frozen halfshell rubbish that destroys our reputation in every market.

      Considering the state of our fisheries we probably need to stop the export of fish and give them time to recover rather than continue to try and provide for markets that we simply don't have enough to supply.

      • Stuart Munro 2.1.1

        It's what McDs did when I was there.

        The fishing industry is not McDonalds – the cameras are the successors to the fisheries observers, which companies disliked because they all too frequently exposed illegality and dysfunction.

        The state (ie the public) paid for observers, and most recently for cameras too, because the industry are as habitually criminal as P dealers, and aren't about to support any effort to regulate.

        The sector needs a certain amount of tough love.

  3. Ad 3

    I would not push expectations too high with Parker – he already has a massive workload and will be the grunt behind the RMA reforms.

    More importantly, it changes nothing inside MPI – the people doing the Fisheries work.

    I don't see MPI emerging behind their defensive crouch any time soon. It's the one Ministry that has the strength of industrial patronage to wait out multiple terms of a leftie government – and MPI appears to be doing that just fine.

    The protected supply chain between MPI as regulator-enablers, key fishing companies, and our supermarket oligopoly is something to behold.

    • Stuart Munro 3.1

      I have grown old waiting for fisheries reform, and fully expect to die before I see it.

      But the sector is ripe for smart development – actual productive growth in an economy that desperately needs it. There is strong logic for change, and an energetic leadership smart enough to recognize that.

      And Parker, though I didn't like his freshwater work, is diligent almost to excess. If he recognizes the issues I expect he would pursue them to completion.

      • Ad 3.1.1

        Parker has been at bullying weak regional councils. Good as it goes but pretty easy politics.

        But he's up against a tougher beast at MPI. Also iwi interests work deep into the numerically strong Labour Maori caucus. The industry knows its new targets.

        Good that you are hopeful. It will take me a lot of convincing.

  4. RedBaronCV 4

    Any other MP's he could tap to help him with the work and be a sort of under secretary in his office if he needs the assistance?

    Good that Nash is gone from the police. They need a serious reset which I couldn’t see Nash doing

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      Any other MP's he could tap to help him with the work and be a sort of under secretary in his office if he needs the assistance?

      I'm sure that the Greens would be more than happy to help.

      • Robert Guyton 4.1.1

        The fishing industry would welcome The Greens with open claws.

      • RedBaronCV 4.1.2

        Which would actually be a good idea. Why do we elect bright smart people mainly and then leave them sitting around doing stuff all when we could give them access to policy formation and public service resouces?

    • Stuart Munro 4.2

      I believe Rino Tirikatene is "Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries". Let us hope he is less of a trougher than Shane Jones, though, as a hereditary MP, the auspices are not felicitous.

      • Brokenback 4.2.1

        Great posts, all of them.

        As someone who initially studied bio-geography and ecology then spent many years working at sea on NZ’s continental shelf in the much maligned offshore oil drilling sector, it has been a constant puzzle to me how the destructive and rapacious Fishing biz has escaped the scrutiny it deserves.

        It puzzles me even more why we still do not have an even fledgling Pelagic fish farming industry .

        Comparatively our nutrient rich [ all that ag runoff] , cool and aerated offshore waters team with life.

        Protect the inshore fishery by banning trawling and increasing marine reserves to around 33% of coastline to 3mile/5km from shore , thereby protecting the unique Hectors and Maui Dolphins and allow tethered, floating cage farming of pelagic fish beyond 12 mile/20km offshore is recipe for a sustainable fishery.

        Burley , RT Hon David Parker ?

      • Ad 4.2.2

        Rino appears to be another Regulator In Name Only.

        • Stuart Munro

          A nephew, not a son, of the former MP it turns out, so a presumption of nepotism would be unfair. The man deserves a chance.

  5. Phillip ure 5

    Of course over-fishing must be curtailed..the oceans are getting fished out…so we just continue doing this..?….until it is all gone..?…and how long to that dark day..at our current rates of consumption/use…?…(as with animals on land) we have to stop eating things that can look at us…cameras etc. will achieve s.f.a. in stopping that galloping degradation…consumer demand must be curtailed..one way of doing this could be a publicity campaign telling people of the realities of this…for the fish….'cos y'see recent research has demonstrated that fish are actually quite intelligent…and how that dumb goldfish myth is just that…and what has been discovered previously is that fish have highly develop central nervous systems…surprisingly so..and not that different from our own…so to relate this awareness of the sensitivities of these fish back to ourselves…try to imagine a hook through your cheek..and then being dragged into the water..to drown..'cos that is what is done to fish…they are hooked and then drowned in what we breath…and suffering unimaginable pain as they die….these are facts…this is what happens to the fish most eat….and can we now also bury that b.s. some peddle that fish feel no pain …I realise what I am saying is confronting to many people…but over-fishing has to stop…and lessening consumption must be addressed…and presenting graphic/scientific evidence of the actual uffering fish go through when they are killed for people to eat would be an effective means to that end…or..we can just carry on fucking over the ocean..until it is all done and dusted..?..eh..?..but we will have a filmed record of that demise of the ocean..eh..?

  6. Enough is Enough 6

    Nash lost some port folios but his ranking is the same. I thought he should have gone the same way as Twyford.

    I suppose its a case of keeping your enemies close and therefore in cabinet.

  7. Scud 7

    I hope Park’o read this as a part his brief in this new ministry?


    As he will realise is problem will only get worse with CC as it tightens it’s grip on the world’s oceans especially in our neck of the woods including the Southern Ocean in the run up to the expiry of the Antarctic Treaty in 2047. During the election we seen the Chinese Fishing Fleet inside NZ’s EEZ Nth- Nth East of the Kermadec’s and it’s rape and pillage In & around the Galapagos Islands which is likely to see its unique biodiversity probably collapse within 18mths because of these Parasites, leeches etc who don’t give a shit.

    What happen during the election is only the tip of the iceberg and I will say these parasites leeches will slowly making their way down the Eastern Edge of NZ’s EEZ and up to at least 50-70 nautical miles (NM) inside NZ’s EEZ.

    And little old NZ wouldn’t be able to do a thing about it because a lack of investment in the NZDF and NZDF Infrastructure on Chatham Islands for RNZAF & RNZN assets to operate out of because the liberal left believe NZ is still in a “Benign Strategic Environment”. Well folks due to CC NZ is no longer in a Benign Strategic Environment as there is a bloody big Ocean around NZand a Southern Land Mass that’s waiting to be rape & pillage by Nations who don’t give a shit about the Liberal Democratic Democracy view of the world’s base rules base order.

  8. ken 8

    Winston's not there to enable the rape of our oceans anymore.

    Get the cameras on all fishing boats NOW.

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