It's true that successive Labour Governments also struggled with this issue. I was writing stories about this back in 2005, and many of the central themes still persist. Pete Hodgson and Jim Anderton both expressed a wish to resolve this, but feared litigation from the industry. Of course, that could have been a convenient excuse for not acting.
But things have improved in a few regards: the industry has spent a great deal of time and money on SLEDs and best-practice training. Some of that is a requirement of the Fisheries Management Plan for SQU 6T, but fishers have at least responded.
It's also true that OBSERVED strike rates and mortality have come down (it's suspected that 100s of sea lions died in single seasons during the 1990s) to an average of around 7 - 8 animals a season. But nobody is pretending that the deaths end there. Around 20 per cent of tows are still not observed, and we cannot account accurately for sea lions that die later from injuries received in SLEDS.
As I mentioned, there are also the collateral deaths of pups ashore and those unborn. There is still a great deal of uncertainty around the effectiveness of SLEDS – something MPI and industry constantly dismiss.
The Ministry is bound by the Fisheries Act to take a precautionary approach – something that is manifestly missing when it advocates for 140 per cent fishing effort increases.
The bottom line is that either an animal is fully protected or it isn't. The sea lion population at the Auckland Islands appears to be in freefall (although the population on Campbell Island is doing OK) and could be functionally extinct within a decade. Not all of the blame can be laid at the fishing industry's door, but if we can act to take at least one pressure off it, why wouldn't we do so?
There are those out there that advocate for the fishery closure, if only temporarily, while a Threat Management Plan is being completed (due out next year).
Thanks Anne: a slip of the fingers...
It seems some readers have interpreted from this blog that I’m the one typecasting James Shaw as some sort of centrist “wolf in sheep’s clothing”. If you read it carefully, you’ll see that I am in fact, levelling that charge at some of the commentary that has been passed this week, and before James’ selection. I go further, and maintain that commentary in fact had an ulterior provocation to it.
I have made no judgement whatsoever on James’ credentials, nor on what he has to offer the Greens. I most certainly do not “hate” his appointment, as someone has suggested.
What I have said is that it’s important that the Green membership, and caucus, consider the various suggestions that his selection should automatically begin any shift to a populist centre with great caution. I for one am anxious that the Greens hold to their philosophical and political course, and offered the example of the German Greens as a cautionary tale (to suggest that I’m comparing James’ selection to the destruction of Yugoslavia is deeply mistaken).
Any eagerness to be part of a Government is completely understandable – the Greens have been jilted often enough – but the German experience shows that many a fatal overtake has been attempted out of impatience.
Regarding the Election results: I got my figures, unwisely, from an NBR analysis that, yes, did not include special votes. Mea culpa… Regarding the swing; that depends whether you consider NZ First a left wing party. I don’t.
Regarding any putative sidelining of Metiria: this blog is concerned entirely with James and his selection, and what it might mean for where the Greens go next. It really is that simple…
What if there were nothing Labour could do to attract voters back? Not because Labour has dropped any ball, or because it's somehow lost touch, but because the populace itself has moved on.
What if first-time voters were coming on stream now that grew up in the new neoliberal, gimme-gimme-gimme century, that have never known anything like liberal socialism or common good? Fundamental capitalism is all these young people have ever experienced. Might they simply assume that's how the world is?
What if older voters were actually much more aware than we think, that in fact, we're all fucked from here on out? What if they are, unconsciously or otherwise, starting to circle their wagons? This is simply human nature – when times get tough, when the writing's on the wall, the donations to Oxfam stop and the hire purchases begin. What if peoples' hearts are hardening?
Are those of us staring at the microcosm – trying to make sense of two disappointing election results – looking the wrong way, while some irreversible social tide goes out?
That's true. There's an ugly side to French social politics, as there is in any society. But if you check the French jugular, you'll find a bounding pulse. That's a product of both healthy stimulants and harmful intoxicants. But at least they FEEL something, demand some say in their fate. They don't simply sit passively in the yards, waiting to be mustered unquestioningly into the works.
I despair that here in NZ some dont take this as seriously as it should be
You got this excruciatingly right.
I don't pretend for a moment to any greater knowledge than anyone else, Andin. But I notice things, and they tend to get stuck... If I have any acute perception at all, it's an acuity for what really fucks me right off...
Whether enmasse we can change course is doubtful
Andin: whether en masse we can change course is in no doubt whatsoever. Indeed: it's the power elite's greatest fear. As I said: we just have to want it badly enough... I've lately returned from living in France, where they know only too well what it's like to be invaded, to be oppressed, to be violated.
We like to poke fun at the French for being insular, parochial, but what we mistake for arrogance is just them declaring "never again." That's why they set fire to cars. That's why they choke the Champs Elysees with tractors. That's why they strike at the drop of a hat. They know what they stand for. More importantly, they know what they WILL NOT stand for. Much like the Spanish – more precisely, the Catalans. New Zealand has yet to arrive at that point of critical mobilisation, because frankly, we've had it so sweet for so long here, we don't recognise what's at stake, what's being done to us. Maōri, on the other hand, know only too well...
History should teach you that attacking ideologies is hopeless. What works is is making the ideology irrelevant.
For New Zealand it’s as simple as deciding that “no thanks we don’t want to fuck up our environment” and voting accordingly. No impossible ideological revolution required.
And that's worked a treat for the last 30 years, hasn't it?
Look I get your ideological hatred of the neoliberal doctrine. But I’m sorry you are shifting into an extreme ideological position yourself and frankly that is distorting your view.
China is far from any kind of neoliberal ideology and while elements of Western Europe are neoliberal huge parts of it are incredibly socialist and can and have run neoliberals out the exit door.
As for India and Africa, neither could be described by any ideology as simplistic as “neoliberal”.
Hi Bart: I don't think it's remotely "extreme" to point out the deleterious effects of our prevailing economic and political doctrine, and the fact that it will effectively prohibit any meaningful action to help limit the upheaval of climate change. These things seem to me, to be part of any intelligent progressive conversation.
China has adopted many economic and labour policies straight out of the Chicago School. I never expressly mentioned India, but in fact, it is fats becoming synonymous with the enterprise culture. Likewise, I didn't imply that ALL of Africa was neoliberal, but the economic blackmail and overthrow of the new South Africa is a matter of historical record (Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine recounts it in detail). You're right; much of western Europe still maintains a vestige of managed economy (Britain is not one of them), but like our own, many societies struggle against an agenda of privatisation, cuts to public spending, and the erosion of labour laws (witness the epic strike by French media to protest public broadcasting cuts). Poland remains, of course, a Chicago poster boy...
None of this is "distorted". It's out there, it's real.
It may also entail the redistribution of wealth and the reinstatement of a more equitable society, but I’m not really sure why it would.
Samuel, You might like to ask the people of Kiribati, or Tuvalu, or the Inuit why any measures to address climate change must protect and enshrine the interests of those most disadvantaged by it.