DEDICATION OF SEALORDS $28 MILLION REHUAFisheries and Aquaculture
E nga mana
E nga reo
E nga karangatanga maha o nga hau e wha
Tena koutou katou
Nga Iwi o Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka a Maui Kanui Te mihi
Te Rangatira o Te Ohu Kaimoana
Sir Tipene and Lady ORegan, Phil Lough, honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen. It is my pleasure to be here today as Minister of Fisheries at the dedication ceremony For Rehua.
In 1986, New Zealand took a brave step and introduced a revolutionary system to manage our fishstocks in a sustainable manner. Prior to 1986 fishing pressure had reduced the size and number of our major inshore fish stocks. And so the Quota Management System was born.
The original objectives of the QMS were to:
Rebuild inshore fishstocks where required;
Ensure that catches were limited to levels that could be sustained over the long term;
Ensure that catches were harvested efficiently with maximum benefit to the industry and to New Zealand;
Allocate catch entitlements equitably based on individual permit holders commitment to the fishery;
Integrate the management of inshore and deep water fisheries;
Develop a management system which can be applied both nationally ands regionally;
Enhance the recreational fishery.
But the QMS also led to and provided for the means which lead to the settlement of Maori Treaty rights in the area of commercial fisheries
To me the Rehua is a symbol that the QMS is working. And working also for Maori through the Fisheries Commission. Likewise, one should also mention the other Sealord shareholder, Brierley, who represent thousands of ordinary New Zealanders savings.
Without the Quota Management System it is quite possible there wouldnt be an economic fishery in New Zealand that required a vessel of this type.
An investment of 28 million dollars could not be made without the surety the QMS provides. And the fact that the Rehua has been commissioned by Sealords is, in my mind complete evidence of the progress made since with the QMS and the Settlement Act passed in 1992.
It also underscores the fact that, as the largest quota owner in New Zealand, Sealords is continuing to invest in and contribute to New Zealands export growth. I am aware of the efforts Sealords has made in the areas of quality assurance and the special recognition that has been gained from overseas customers because of this dedication to quality and customer service.
For this I congratulate Sealord and all associated with this project, and wish you every ongoing success for your shareholders. For me it brings into clear focus the reason why we have a Quota Management System which enables companies to provide, on a sustainable and dependable basis, top quality product to an ever increasingly sophisticated market.
I am aware there are still some significant issues to be worked through in terms of the ongoing development of the QMS. To my mind to is too centralised and too complicated. I am open to suggestions to improve the Act and its operation.
There has been much recent debate on the charges levied on the commercial fishing industry to allow the Ministry of Fisheries to carry out its role as the Government organisation responsible for the sustainable management of New Zealands fisheries. The expected levy take this year is less then last year.
Let me be the first to say that I am more than willing to listen to industry suggestions as to how better to manage this aspect of our relationship. But let me be clear about the need for the Crown to recover appropriate costs from commercial fishers.
The simple message is that managing our fisheries sustainably costs. The Crown, therefore, seeks to recover the costs associated with its management of New Zealands fisheries which are specific to the commercial industry. That is, if the commercial industry did not exist there would be no need for these services.
The taxpayer still funds some $16.4 million to provide other non commercial services in the fisheries area and industry $32.5million towards to cost of managing our fisheries. This has to be seen in the context of a $1.2 billion dollar industry
I have touched on the past, and I have made mention of the present. What then of the future?
There is no doubt that pressure on global fishstocks will continue. As environmental pressures grow and Governments and consumers become more aware of the importance and the need for sustainable management systems in all areas of endeavour, the role that the QMS will play in allowing New Zealands commercial industry to compete will merely become more evident.
Already, overseas environmental lobby groups are calling for Governments to only allow products to be imported from countries where it can be shown that sustainable management systems are in place and functioning. At this stage the calls for this type of test are small but it would be foolish for us to believe they will not grow. At a commercial level Ive been very impressed at progress in adding value to our fisheries catch. This seams to me to continue to offer unlimited opportunities for the future. Rehua represents part of that process
As the new Minister of Fisheries, I look forward to a continued constructive relationship with the industry to sustainably utilise our fisheries resource.
Once again, thank you for inviting me here today to witness the dedication of the Rehua, the latest addition to the Sealords fine fleet. Thank you.