Minister thanks SSC for inquiry
26 May, 2004
Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope has thanked the State Services Commissioner for the thoroughness of the inquiry into the management of the scampi fishery.
The Inquiry has concluded that there was no foundation to allegations of impropriety or criminality by staff of the former Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) or its successor the Ministry of Fisheries (MFish).
Mr Benson-Pope says that while the overwhelming majority of the allegations were of a historical nature and related to the now defunct Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, it was right to have given them this scrutiny.
"These were serious allegations," he says. "The report has made it plain that they were without substance.
"The SSC report confirms that the creation in 1995 of a standalone Ministry of Fisheries went a long way to addressing concerns about inconsistent fisheries management that resulted from the regional focus of the former Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries."
However, one issue raised by the SSC report about the current Ministry of Fisheries is the defensive culture of the ministry - "the legacy of the long and difficult introduction of the quota management system (QMS) and the years of associated litigation".
The Minister says he understands where this criticism comes from and he is happy to see steps taken to build a more open approach so industry can see decisions are being made in a fair and even-handed way.
"I hope the days of fishers heading to court at the first sign of change have been put behind us," he says.
Contact: Pete Coleman (Press Secretary) (04) 471- 9685 or 021-811-003