Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash’s admission today that he still hasn’t made a call on the introduction of cameras on commercial fishing vessels shows NZ First continues to hold Labour and the Greens over a barrel, National’s Conservation spokesperson Sarah Dowie says.

“Mr Nash confirmed at the Forest and Bird conference in June that it is his own colleagues who are blocking the roll-out of cameras on commercial fishing vessels even though we know they would bring immense conservation benefits.

“If rolled-out fully as National proposed, digital monitoring would help revolutionise the way New Zealand’s commercial fisheries are managed and monitored and ensure fewer of our marine mammals like dolphins and seals are accidentally killed.

“The Government’s claim that it is making progress on so-called technical and administrative issues is just an excuse to buy more time while Labour kowtows to its minor party colleague.

“Mr Nash promised in June that a paper was due to go to Cabinet soon. However, it is now clear that NZ First Ministers are still standing in the way.

“Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage needs to help Mr Nash get NZ First over the line.

“Ms Sage talked a big game in Opposition. She promised that with the Greens in Government ‘completely unacceptable’ fishing practices would stop. In Government, Ms Sage says nothing as NZ First continues to call the shots with Labour.

“As we have seen this week, NZ First is undermining the Labour and the Greens at every step. Now NZ First are blocking simple, practical measures across the line that would save dolphins and seabirds.”

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