Monday, December 03, 2018

A compromised decision

Stuff reports on the government shelving its plans for a fisheries review after pressure from NZ First. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash is trying to present this as no big deal, but it basicly means that the status quo - under which the fishing industry engages in widespread criminal behaviour and is not punished for it - continues. But the worst bit: the pressure was apparently from Shane Jones. And Shane Jones is... not exactly clean:

Jones accepted thousands of dollars in donations from industry giants Sealord and Talley's in his last election campaign.

He has defended the industry against Greenpeace in the past, saying he won't stand to see an industry that provides good jobs for the regions "disfigured".

Where "thousands" is actually "tens of thousands": $10,000 from Talleys in 2017, and another $10,000 from Sealord when a Labour candidate in 2011. These donations create an appearance of a conflict of interest so severe that no sane person would let Jones anywhere near fisheries policy. No matter whether Talleys and Sealord expected any payback or not, any decision that Jones makes or any lobbying he carries out will be seen not just as tainted, but as purchased. It simply looks corrupt. And it is a perfect example of why we need both greater transparency, but also a ban on large donations.