Key Points:

Fisheries industry leaders gave the Government a serve this morning for lack of consultation over major decisions including extinguishing Maori fishing rights in the Kermadecs which were part of the 1992 fisheries settlement. But Prime Minister John Key conceded some criticism was valid. The executive chairman of Seafood New Zealand, George Clement, told Key that the next time the Government planned a "step change" involving the industry to talk to them before they did it, not after it. And Jamie Tuuta, the chairman of the Maori fisheries commission Te Ohu Kai Moana (TOKM), said 45 minutes consultation was not enough. He said it could no longer be assumed that the Government would uphold fishing rights or the integrity of the quota management system. After a secret planning process last year driven by Environment Minister Nick Smith, Key announced at the United Nations the establishment of the large Kermadec Sanctuary which extended it out to the 200 Exclusive Economic Zone. Key himself accepted criticism about consultation after a speech to open the Seafood Industry conference. "I think there's a fair point there," he told reporters. "We have made that point to TOKM and others who have raised those concerns." But Key also told the industry to be mindful of its own reputation which was easily affected by the actions of very few.

What you are giving up is tiny if anything compared to what you gain about having that kind of branding.
John Key
People wanted to feel good about the product that they bought. "They want to feel that it is sustainable. They want to feel that the right environmental things are happening." Part of the long-term sustainability of fisheries was about saying there were places that were not fished. He said the industry did not need him to point out the importance of taking over-fishing, under-reporting and discarding catch seriously. "It is partly about the PR war," he said. "There are plenty of groups who are going to want to take a different perspective, show you in a different light and turn consumers against you." Key said in 10 years their consumer base would be an Asian driven extremely wealthy base that wanted to buy the highest quality in the world. "They want to understand absolutely and completely that you care about the sustainability of that. "They are going to buy the story as much as they buy the product. That's ultimately what it's all about." He said the Government was trying to demonstrate globally that New Zealand had some balance about what it was doing.
We are arguing against an ideology, the ideology of biodiversity.
Jamie Tuuta
"What you are giving up is tiny if anything compared to what you gain about having that kind of branding." Former fisheries settlement negotiator Sir Tipene O'Regan said he was not concerned and neither should Maori be about the idea of a reservation in a region in which very little fishing took place. "But the fact that it was done without any concern for the fundamental treaty rights ensconced and enshrined in the fisheries settlement...and fundamentally contravenes different elements of that settlement I think is appalling." He and Tuuta argued that they were battling the "ideology of biodiversity." Tuuta said Maori had always accepted the science of sustainability and the need to rebuild fish stocks under pressure. "We are not arguing about science, we are not arguing about sustainability . We are arguing against an ideology, the ideology of biodiversity. "There is a belief that in order to protect biodiversity we must institute total protection - no-take areas in the marine environment." Tuuta complained about a cartoon by Rod Emmerson in the Herald which showed the Maori fisheries commission as a shark poised to destroy the Kermadec sanctuary. "It misrepresents the nature of Maori fishing rights and misrepresents the nature of the treaty partnerships in general," said Tuuta and he displayed his own altered version of the cartoon depicting the shark as environmental ideologists. "We believe that environmental ideology is better represented by the shark, and poor old clown fish is the collective Maori fishing rights."