November 19, 2019
Te Tai Poutini protests swimming against the tide
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says this week’s rally in Greymouth against government changes to whitebaiting, mining and farm use rules shows the message of sustainability still isn’t getting through.
Te Tai Poutini has been allocated hundreds of millions of dollars in support to help with the transition from extractive industries, but those at the rally say those are the industries that support their communities and way of life.
Mr Jones says he appreciates the depth of feeling West Coasters have for activities like whitebaiting, but it is a resource that is under considerable stress.
“Lots of people who don’t belong to Te Tai Poutini own whitebait stands there. They have been known to trade for thousands of dollars so people have got a lot of money tied up in this industry. It’s an incredibly lucrative catch but at the end of the day we should all be bound by a higher duty to ensure that our harvesting is sustainable,” he says.
Mr Jones says the presence of three National Party MPs at the rally is a pointer to election year, where he expects to see a lot of the Opposition in rural and provincial areas whipping up discord.
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