Serious Fraud Office findings on scampi
Hon Pete Hodgson, Minister of Fisheries
Wednesday, 06 November 2002
Contrary to a New Zealand Herald report today the Government has not "ignored" any advice from the Serious Fraud Office on the allocation of scampi quota, says Fisheries Minister Pete Hodgson.
"The Serious Fraud Office is a law enforcement agency, not a fisheries policy agency. It was asked to look at allegations of corruption in the Ministry of Fisheries and concluded that there was not a sufficient basis to commence an investigation. Dealing with such allegations is the SFO's area of expertise and its conclusions on the allegations are clearly the substance of its findings.
"In advising the Solicitor-General of his conclusions the SFO director said he believed the 'real issue' regarding scampi was the establishment of a fair means of allocating quota. I agree that allocation, not corruption, is the real issue. He observed that this was outside his jurisdiction, which is true. He suggested that Crown Law "may well be able to assist the Ministry", which Crown Law does frequently, including on scampi issues.
"To suggest, as the Herald does, that the SFO director's letter constitutes significant advice on the allocation of scampi quota that the government has 'ignored and hidden from the public' is simply farcical. He did not give any such advice and therefore I did not ignore it."