July 20, 2017
A media storm erupted last year with the release of Glen Simmons’ Catch Reconstruction Report. This report outlined the unprecedented levels of unreported catch to the United Nations by New Zealand Officials and was accompanied by internal Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) reports that revealed knowledge of widespread commercial dumping.
MPI’s Director of Fisheries, Dave Turner, was quick to respond saying that they knew of this dumping but were advised by their legal team that they were unable to prosecute. This did not sit well with the public and the chaos that ensued prompted a review of these decisions.
The findings of the review, undertaken by QC Michael Heron, found that the decision to not prosecute was ‘flawed’.
Official Information Act requests were then filed requesting this legal advice. More than a year on and the Ombudsman has released a statement revealing that this legal advice in fact never existed at all.
The statement went on to say that Turner was acting in good faith based on information that he had received. With no access to the legal advice (that is protected by law) we again have to wonder who gave Turner the information that led him to that conclusion?
If this was a one-off event it may be okay to take it at face value, but it’s not.
LegaSea is committed to supporting a review of the Quota Management System and the restoration of a dedicated Ministry of Fisheries committed to more fish in the water for future generations.