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The decision to allow regional councils to manage fishing restrictions under the Resource Management Act sets a dangerous precedent, National’s Fisheries spokesperson Ian McKelvie says.

“The Court of Appeal has given local councils the ability to use the Resource Management Act to control fishing off the back of an appeal from environmentalists on Motiti Island.

“Hundreds of thousands of recreational fishers’ access has been put at risk as regional councils now have the ability to ban fishing.  

“Elected officials in regional councils will now come under significant pressure to put in place restrictions and bans which will take away the rights of everyday New Zealanders. 

“These powers should remain the prerogative of central government and the Minister needs to intervene to ensure this remains the case.

“One of the great privileges of being a New Zealander is the ability to get out on the water and put a line out. We need to carefully reconsider any rulings that prevent that from occurring.

“The National Party accepts the need to carefully preserve all forms of marine biodiversity in a sustainable and practical manner. But decisions that are going to affect our recreational and commercial fishers so severely should be made with appropriate thought and caution.

“The Government needs to change the law urgently and give certainty to recreational fishers, and if they won’t a National Government will.”

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