Fisheries Amendment Bill: Change To Clause 50 (19 Feb 99)
The Minister for Food, Fibre, Biosecurity and Border Control, Hon John Luxton today announced that he has asked his officials to begin work on clarifying clause 50 of the Fisheries Amendment Bill. This Bill is currently before the Primary Production Select Committee.
Clause 50 is designed to allow the Minister to devolve some of the responsibilities of the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Fisheries to approved service delivery organisations. The Minister said that, as currently written, clause 50 is open to wider interpretation than intended.
"My own colleagues in Cabinet, and others, have pointed out that this clause needs clarifying. Of great concern is the possible interpretation, pointed out by environmental groups, that the clause could be read to mean that the responsibilities of the Minister are open to devolution."
The Minister said that this was never the intention of the Bill or clause 50. The clause was designed to allow for the devolution of some of the responsibilities of the Chief Executive only. In particular responsibility for registry and related services associated with the administration of commercial fishing rights.
"To make doubly sure that we remove any ambiguity from this very important clause I have also asked officials to draft a schedule to the Bill which will specify exactly which responsibilities of the Chief Executive are not open to devolution."
These changes will be relayed to the Select Committee as part of departmental submissions.
"This Amendment Bill is all about Government retaining the power to set rules and standards and, only where appropriate, devolving the operation of those rules to groups that have demonstrated that they are representative and, most importantly, accountable. "