Engaging with tangata whenua and the appointment of Tangata Kaitiaki/Tangata Tiaki
With the establishment of regional fora, the Ministry is able to more readily engage with tangata whenua, and is increasing the opportunities for tangata whenua to have structured input into and participation in fisheries management processes.
Eight fora cover the:
- Gulf Harbours
- Bay of Plenty
- Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa
- Ngai Tahu Takiwā (involving five regional clusters)
- North Island Freshwater.
Other fora are in the process of being established. They include:
- Far North
- Far Mid-North
- Tairawhiti/East Cape Wellington/Manawatu Chatham Islands.
Advice papers were submitted to the Associate Minister of Fisheries covering Tangata Kaitiaki and Tangata Tiaki appointments. Tangata Kaitiaki had their appointments confirmed for Waimarama/Ngati Hawea, while Tangata Tiaki appointments were confirmed for the Korako Karetai Trust. A number of extensions to Tangata Tiaki appointments in the South Island were also processed.
The Ministry's Te Kahui Pou Hononga also provided assistance with dispute resolution over a number of Tangata Kaitiaki notifications. This has seen help provided to a number of groups around the country over the course of the year.
Te Kahui Pou Hononga developed NZQA-accredited training modules and training material for Tangata Kaitiaki. Credits from these will be transferable towards the National Diploma in Fisheries Management. Discussions on the delivery of the Tangata Kaitiaki training are ongoing, but may include the Tertiary Education Commission and regional tertiary providers. The team is working towards a National Certificate in Public Sector Field/Community Advisory under a government-funded scheme that enables workplace assessment of public servants.
Two systems are under development for wider Ministry use to support staff in their work with iwi, including a contact management system and a customary catch database.
Māori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement
The Ministry is responsible for the implementation of the Māori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act 2004, which came into force on 1 January 2005. This Act provides a full and final settlement of Māori commercial aquaculture interests since 21 September 1992. It requires iwi to be provided with 20 percent of all new aquaculture space created through the establishment of Aquaculture Management Areas (AMAs) after 1 January 2005. The Act also establishes the Crown's obligation to provide iwi with the equivalent of 20 percent of aquaculture space created between 21 September 1992 and the commencement of the new Act.
During the past year the Ministry established a good working relationship with Te Ohu Kai Moana Trustee Limited, who commenced their statutory role as Trustee of the settlement. The aquaculture settlement register was established on a regional basis and the information published. Orders-in-Council were gazetted in relation to the Crown's obligations for space.
Over the coming year, the Ministry will continue to monitor the impact of litigation on the statutory framework of the settlement and the potential impact on delivery of the Māori Aquaculture Settlement.
Regulation 27 changes
Regulation 27 of the Fisheries (Amateur Fishing) Regulations 1986 provides for the taking of fish for customary purposes, where Kaimoana or South Island Customary Fishing Regulations are not in force.
Claims of abuse of Regulation 27 led to a review and a number of changes to the Regulation. This resulted in Regulation 27a, which sets stricter requirements for issuing customary fishing authorisations. These include penalties for people who issue illegal customary authorisations.
The changes came into effect on 1 March 2006 and the introduction was supported by visits to people around the country who are authorised to issue customary fishing authorisations, providing new permit books and information about the changes.
Since 1986, and the introduction of the Quota Management System, observers have become an integral component of the management of deepwater and middle depths fisheries. Observer coverage is primarily to gather scientific data to support stock assessment.
Information requirements are determined in consultation with multi- stakeholder fisheries working groups and an observer coverage plan is then developed to collect the required information.
This past year has seen the programme's inshore coverage extended to include new fisheries, particularly long line and set net fisheries. For many operators in these fisheries, this is the first time they have been exposed to the programme and the Ministry will look to increase understanding with those stakeholders of the programme's purpose and the importance of the data collected.
This area has been a focus for the Ministry during 2005/2006, reflecting the Government's revised goals. The sustainable economic growth of the primary sector, including the seafood sector, is a priority for the Government, with the seafood sector an important contributor to the New Zealand economy.
There are opportunities to increase its value. Economic transformation is about using our natural resource base in more efficient and productive ways, rather than just increasing production. It means building dynamic sectors that can respond quickly to threats and opportunities. Government has a significant role to play in supporting economic transformation, for example in establishing appropriate regulatory frameworks and facilitating access to international markets. The Ministry is working with other departments to achieve this, and is looking to obtain leverage across the primary sectors where possible.
The Ministry has moved to increase the value of fisheries through a number of initiatives, including the development of Fisheries Plans, and the Shared Fisheries Project, as well as through its participation in projects led by other government departments, such as the development of a revised New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement under the Resource Management Act 1991, and the development of an Oceans Policy.
In particular, the Government has identified the aquaculture industry as one of the most important sectors for future economic growth, with aquaculture recently identified as an economic transformation sector. For economic transformation to be successful, it must be based on sustainable industries. Some countries have made mistakes through too rapid or inappropriate aquaculture development. It is important that New Zealand does not repeat those mistakes.
The primary focus for the Ministry for aquaculture during 2005/2006 has been working with other departments on the provision of national guidance for councils on the development of new Aquaculture Management Areas, support to councils and industry to ease the transition of old leases and licences and Fisheries Act approvals under the old regime into the new regime under the Resource Management Act 1991, and continuing to facilitate the implementation of the new aquaculture reforms, primarily through direct discussions with industry and councils. The Ministry has also been working in support of the Aquaculture Council's recent release of the industry's Aquaculture Sector Strategy.
The Ministry is now working with other agencies to develop a whole-of-government work programme for aquaculture for 2006/2007. This work programme will include the development of a national statement supporting sustainable aquaculture.
The Ministry's organisational investment
Investment in the Ministry, to ensure we have people, skills and tools to perform to the high standard expected by stakeholders and the public, is an important part of our work programme.
At the heart of any organisation are its people, and having the right people is key. The Ministry of Fisheries is fortunate to have dedicated staff, who demonstrate their commitment to our mission and goal on a daily basis.
The Ministry has reviewed its operations and, as a result of the review, instigated a three-year programme focused on developing the organisation so we:
- are well-aligned with the strategy outlined in our Statement of Intent (SOI)
- have well-integrated business processes, support structures and information systems
- develop, use and recognise people's skills and capabilities
- adapt the way we work so that, as an organisation, the Ministry can respond quickly to future changes in Government direction or the environment in which we operate.
This programme will include an update of our major people policies and processes in 2006/2007 to ensure alignment to the Ministry's SOI. This will integrate our people practices, including recruitment and development, with agreed sets of competencies identified as mission critical.
Business groups are developing technical competencies specific to their work and expected performance, and will roll out a generic competencies model in 2006/2007 that can be used right across the Ministry's people practices. This builds on the strong foundation established during the Compliance refocus work, which is outlined further below.
Under our moves to meet the State Services goals of 'Employer of Choice' and 'Excellent State Servants', the Ministry will use as its standard, competency-based recruitment and development processes. Our leadership development initiatives will be developed into a more structured framework, also using the competency- based approach.
The Ministry has undertaken a programme of capital works, modernising offices and equipment - including adopting environmentally sustainable systems, such as heating and lighting systems, a move that aligns with its programme for meeting its goals under the Govt3 programme. This programme, run by the Ministry for the Environment, aims to help central government organisations become more sustainable in their environmental, social and economic practice.
The 2005-08 Statement of Intent listed "credible fisheries management" as a key contributing outcome for the Ministry. Recognising that sound financial management is a major element of this, the Ministry has invested in upgrading its financial management system, which became operational for the start of the 2006/2007 financial year.
The core elements of the original finance system were introduced when the Ministry was first established in 1995 and it no longer delivers all the functionality required today. This project will deliver increased access to relevant financial information, better integration of financial information across all areas of the Ministry, and robust project accounting systems, with significant improvements to the Ministry's financial management.
At the same time, we have been developing the framework for a new electronic document and records management system that will be implemented throughout the Ministry. This will support a collaborative team approach, allow historical documents to be searched and help the Ministry comply with the Public Records Act. It will also ensure ongoing and speedy access to information held by the Ministry and allow quick update of information on the recently redeveloped Ministry of Fisheries web site (launched in June 2006).
The new web site has been developed to meet e-Government requirements that aim to enable New Zealanders to access government information and services.
The Ministry has taken over responsibility from the Ministry for the Environment for providing environmental performance indicators for fisheries. The release of the Status of Our Fisheries web site at the end of 2005 has provided more detailed information for a greater number of species than previously available. This information is updated on a regular basis, using latest available scientific and catch information. The scope of information is planned to be expanded in the coming year.
In 2004, the Ministry of Fisheries reviewed how its Compliance business was supporting fisheries management objectives. This confirmed the two key goals of Compliance - encouraging voluntary compliance with fisheries laws and creating an effective deterrent against offending. It also changed the structure of the Compliance business, through a focus on competencies and skill development, and a new focus on education and poaching and black market activities. The development of capability in this area has provided the Compliance business with a strong foundation for delivering Compliance services over the next five years.
Compliance is now structured into five business groups; Surveillance, Investigations, Information, Prosecutions and Business Support. The main change to the previous structure was the separation of the surveillance and investigations roles so that a more targeted approach could be taken to investigating serious fisheries offences.
In tandem with the restructure of the Compliance business, a new performance management and training and development framework was developed. This was based on identifying and developing required competencies for each job, assessing staff against these competencies to determine future training and development needs and putting in place personal development plans alongside performance agreements.
Feedback and complaints system
A formal means of capturing and addressing feedback and complaints made by stakeholders was introduced in September 2005. A policy sets out how to classify feedback and complaints and the process that should be used when they are received.
Feedback is lodged under categories of 'Commercial', 'Customary', 'Recreational' or - where it is difficult to place accurately into one of these groups - 'Other'.
Just over 50 individual feedback items were received during that time, with more than half of them recorded as complaints. These ranged from such matters as infringement notices, to an anonymous comment on shark finning. No observable trends could be seen that might require specific review of an issue.
Seventeen compliments were received with many focusing on public interactions with Ministry of Fisheries staff.