The Government’s response to new revelations that one of the country’s biggest fishing companies, Talley’s, and its managing director has donated tens of thousands of undisclosed dollars to the New Zealand First Foundation is unacceptable.
“The undeclared donations to New Zealand First by Talley’s is worrying. New Zealand First and its MPs has been influencing fisheries policies and decisions while being financed by Talley’s, clearly pinpointing a conflict of interest,” says OSOF spokesperson, Noel Jhinku.
While these ongoing undisclosed donations were being made, the Government implemented a series of policy changes related to fisheries, and these donations have likely influenced key government officials – and their input into fisheries related decisions.
This fetches from Government support of unlawful fishing practices to delaying important fisheries policy that would benefit the marine ecosystem.
“Recently, the Government tried to get a Talley’s fishing vessel taken off an international blacklist of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing vessels despite serious evidence that it had illegally bottom trawled in a protected area of Tasman Sea. The Government also delayed its implementation of on-board cameras on fishing vessels (which Talley’s has lobbied against) even though there had been underreporting of catch and illegal fish dumping.
“So far, the Prime Minister and the Parliamentary Cabinet has distanced itself from these revelations when it should be stepping in and holding Talley’s and New Zealand First accountable for its actions.
“The Government needs to prioritise protecting our marine ecosystems and managing our fisheries sustainably rather than supporting and defending unsustainable and destructive fishing methods that are at the detriment of our marine ecosystems and contributing to the extinction of our marine life.
“It’s clear that serious donation reform and review is needed to ensure the integrity of our political system remains and is not influenced by dirty politics,” Jhinku says.