Fisheries (Remedial Issues) Amendment Bill - first reading
Hon Pete Hodgson, Minister of Fisheries
27 February 2001
Mr Speaker I move that the Fisheries (Remedial Issues) Amendment Bill be now read a first time.
Mr Speaker it is my intention to move that the Primary Production Select Committee consider the Bill and I will be seeking to instruct the Select Committee to report back to the House on or before 1 May 2001.
The purpose of the Fisheries (Remedial Issues) Amendment Bill is to amend the Fisheries Act 1996, to address a number of technical, minor, and non-controversial issues. The Bill does not alter existing policy frameworks, but is intended to promote more efficient management and administration of the commercial fishing industry. The commercial fishing industry has indicated that it supports the content of this Bill.
New Zealand's fisheries generally operate under a mixture of the Fisheries Act 1996 and the Fisheries Act 1983. The remainder of the Fisheries Act 1996 comes into force on 1 October 2001. For this to occur there are some technical legislative amendments required to the Fisheries Act 1996.
Since March 2000 the Ministry of Fisheries and the Seafood Industry Council have been working in a joint project to ensure the successful implementation of those sections of the Fisheries Act 1996 that deal with the administration of quota and commercial fishing. This analysis has shown that some provisions are technically ineffective.
For the Fisheries Act 1996 to operate successfully from 1 October 2001, this Bill needs to be enacted by 1 June 2001.
The Bill's amendments to the Fisheries Act 1996 can be grouped into three broad categories.
The first category concerns the transitional provisions that allow for the effective translation of property rights from the Fisheries Act 1983 to the Fisheries Act 1996.
One of the major changes to the Quota Management System arising from the introduction of the Fisheries Act 1996 is the formal separation of the ownership right of quota and the harvesting right generated from that quota. Under the Fisheries Act 1983 the ownership and harvesting rights are not separated.
The transitional provisions in the Fisheries Act 1996 are designed to ensure that the translation of property rights under the Fisheries Act 1983 to the Fisheries Act 1996 does not adversely affect existing property right holders. A number of minor technical errors have been identified in the operation of these transitional provisions.
The Fisheries Act 1996 needs to be amended so that all quota held under the 1983 Act can be successfully transferred to the quota registers under the 1996 Act in a manner that is proportional to each quota holder's holding. Amendments are required so that the property rights held by quota owners can be confirmed and accurately translated into the new legislative environment.
Further, the Bill provides for the allocation of property rights in a manner that accommodates and provides for any additional fishing rights generated under the Fisheries Act 1983.
The second broad category of amendments concerns formulas that support the provisions of the Fisheries Act 1996.
When a Total Allowable Commercial Catch is reduced, the Act attempts to lessen the impacts on fishers by proportionally allocating quota held by the Crown. This is done in a manner that ensures that the quota owner's shares generate, as far as possible, the same amount of harvest right as they did prior to the reduction in the Total Allowable Commercial Catch. Minor amendments are required to correct formulas in the 1996 Act to ensure these calculations are correct.
Thirdly and finally, the Bill makes technical amendments to miscellaneous provisions of the Fisheries Act 1996.
It allows regulations to better address issues relating to the chronological receipt of instruments such as mortgages or caveats over quota that may be received either electronically or on paper. This amendment will facilitate the use of technology to provide an efficient quota trading market.
It allows for the rights, interests or obligations relating to a mortgage over quota to be assigned from one party to another.
It amends the provision that fishing tenders need not be registered if that tender complies with regulations that regulate the activities of tenders.
It allows for the discharge of a mortgage over quota either on the receipt of an endorsed mortgage, or by other means that encourage and provide for electronic transactions.
It removes ambiguity from High Seas provisions so that New Zealand nationals, using a foreign vessel, can transport fish taken on the high seas without a separate authorisation if the fish being transported were taken in accordance with an appropriate permit from an appropriate flag state.
It provides for regulations requiring all persons with an interest in quota to provide information and records to the Ministry of Fisheries.
In summary, this Bill makes minor and technical amendments that will allow the registry provisions of the Fisheries Act 1996 to be effective on 1 October 2001. It does not raise any issues relating to sustainability, recreational fishing or customary fishing. This Bill has the support of the New Zealand fishing industry and will contribute to the effective administration and management of New Zealand's fisheries.
I move that the Primary Production Select Committee consider the Bill and that the Committee report back to the House on or before 1 May 2001.
Graeme Speden, press secretary, 04 471 9707 or 025 270 9055