To de-criminalize any of the drugs in question, you have to put forward a reasoned scientific case for harm minimization. In order to do that, you have to acknowledge the harm done by drugs in general and, therefore, acknowledge that alcohol is by far the most harmful drug in our society. So, logically, you need to impose more restrictions on alcohol and there is your stumbling block. Not only are many people philosophically opposed to that, you will also have dozens of alcohol industry lobbyists off to visit the minister to explain why that is a bad idea.
Bang on with the inshore fishery and smaller craft Tom. QMS was an astounding breakthrough when it was first implemented, and put NZ in the forefront of fisheries management in the world. But it has become all those things you say and only just fulfils its role as a good management weapon. It can only get worse as the current government tries to drive through 20% increases in export earnings.
The politicisation of the QMS was evident in the report into snapper quota for SNA1 in 2013. The scientists said that Bay of Plenty stocks were down to an estimated 6% of original biomass which exceeds the Ministry's technical limit for 'collapse' (less than 10%). However, the Ministry report, compiled by bureaucrats rather than scientists, combined the figures for the Hauraki Gulf (estimated at 20-22% or original biomass) and BOP in order to gloss over the appalling state of the fishery in BOP.
I agree with Ben that bag limits will take care of recreational fishing pressure in SNA1 as long as they are kept current and based on scientific research, not emotion.
Your comment about technology limits does bring up a point I made (unsuccesfully) to a fishing friend recently, that recreational fishing is becoming more and more elitist. For all their talk about the rights of your average citizen to just go out and ‘catch a feed’, it is harder and harder to do that without a big boat and expensive equipment. And by being in denial about the need for further real cuts to recreational bag limits and commercial catches, there will be no significant increase in fish populations, and it will get increasingly harder to ‘catch a feed’.
Quite right Ben. That’s why small changes by a large group of people, like reducing bag limit from 9 to 7 snapper, can make a big difference. The bag limit in the Gulf should really come down to 5 or 6 per person as that is still plenty to feed your family. Fisherman need to get over the need to give some away to the neighbours etc, to show what great hunters they are.
Equally, commercial catch in Snapper 1 needs to drop by at least 20% until there are demonstrable signs of population rebuild.
Yes, snapper is the fish of choice for both recreational and commercial but other species are stressed as well, e.g. trevally, kahawai, crayfish, cockles, scallops, etc. Snapper and crayfish are the ones most fiercely contested by both recreational and commercial fishers.
My campaign-du-jour is to try and drum up enthusiasm for keeping Astrolabe Reef closed to fishing following the Rena sinking, and move it towards a permanent reserve. The hard yards are already done in terms of excluding fishers from the zone around the reef and it is nearly four years old now (I think). There is some impressive anecdotal evidence from divers about the lush schools of fish around the reef now.
Tell your friends.
They are promising recreational fishers something they essentially already have. As you pointed out, there is almost no commercial fishing in the inner Gulf, and what there is is of the best sort – small, targeted and quota managed.
What recreational fishers won’t face up to, with respect to the inner Gulf in particular, is that they are equally responsible for over fishing. This will only increase as the population of Auckland increases. They howl at and blame commercial fishing in the outer Gulf but, in the whole of the Snapper 1 zone (north east of North Island), the recreational catch is almost equal to the commercial catch.
There needs to be at least a 20% cut in snapper quota for both recreational and commercial fishers if we are to see any significant improvement in popuation by the next census (in about four years). In conjunction with many more no-take marine reserves, there would be some chance of significant rebuild of fish stocks. However, both recreational fishers (in the form of individuals and bodies such as Legasea) and commercial fishers are vehemently opposed to reserves anywhere, any time.
One of the latest reserves to be announced, at Kaikoura, has been so knobbled by the interests of iwi and fishers that there is some uncertainty as to whether it will produce much in the way of improvements to the environment and fish stocks. It is dubbed the AK47 reserve because of the shape imposed upon it by various competing interests.
As usual, no one speaks up for the rights of fish.
Preumably Mahuta gets reward for her work in getting Maori to stick with Labour when many deserted the ship. Seems fair to me. Sio and Sepuloni also up there for Pasifika support.
I agree with you Russell that those policies are important and should be enacted. However, my impression (i.e. I can't back it up with any evidence) is that Andrew Little agreed with both those policies but did not want Labour to be losing votes for being the only partly to support them. Pragmatism or disingenuous? Everybody gets to decide.
Presumably, your dream result was team Gracinda who, to me, represent the same Labour caucus just taking turns at being the leader but representing the same losing team from the last two elections.
In Andrew Little I see somone with much less baggage who is not afraid to go biffo with Johnkey, and that's what I want to see.
And I want him to support CGT and super at 67+.
Fair call Andrew. It does fascinate me that even amongst the lefty liberals on PA that there is such a split about where Labour should be heading and who should be leading them.
The people who actually vote a party in (unions, communities) have said no to Grant Robertson and yes to Andrew Little. It makes a good change, I think, from the same 20-odd closeted Parliamentarians bickering over ABC or ABR or whatever their silly minds come up with next.
Andrew may now have to take on a bit of the John Key brutality and axe anyone who dissents, and quickly.
I'm really surprised at how negative you are Russell. They've gone through a process and that process has produced a leader that the whole party (yes it includes the unions) wants, not just the intellectual, closeted caucus.
To me he represents someone fresh, astute, smart and free of the baggage of the last 10+ years of Labour Party. He also represents some of the original flavour of Labour instead of the last six years of Labour leaders wishing they could be John Key and the party wishing it could be National-lite.
He will have to prove himself quickly and effectively or he will just get the same slow death from the MSM as the last few leaders.
I see it as positive and I look forward to him tearing into John and National.
The Labour Party can continue to sulk and wish it had been different (much like this thread on PA) or they can fight for a top position on the front bench and get out and kick some arse. That applies to you too Russell :-)
Thanks Jackson. Yes, he is the consumate front man and with the voice of an angel. Bones is still my favourite all time track of theirs so I was so excited when they played it as the second number of the night – a treat for me considering how many songs they have to choose from.