Greenpeace versus Shane Jones on fishing prosecution and NZ First donors

Shane Jones has always seemed to be an embarrassment waiting to happen for the Government.  He has already ventured into iffy territory for a minister, for example his public attacks on Air New Zealand.

Now he has dived into a dispute with Greenpeace over party donations, which involves a prosecution of a subsidiary  of Talleys, a company that Jones has financial and social links to (Winston Peters also).

NZ Herald: NZ First MP Shane Jones accuses Greenpeace of deliberately tarnishing NZ’s reputation for donations

Quite a confusing headline.

NZ First MP Shane Jones has fired a shot across Greenpeace’s bow, accusing the organisation of deliberately tarnishing New Zealand’s international fishing reputation just to fundraise.

But Greenpeace’s New Zealand Executive Director Russel Norman fired back, saying Jones was trying to distract the public from the fact he has accepted donations from fishing company Talley’s.

Norman said this should preclude him from contributing to fisheries policies.

The war of words erupted after a Greenpeace press release implied Jones should be withdrawn from any debate around fisheries because of donations he had received from Talley’s.

Financial links between Talleys and NZ First have been known for a long time, as has Winston Peters support for commercial fishing.

“Incidentally, Talley’s is the same company that donated heavily to the campaign of Shane Jones, who has emerged as the de facto Minister of Fisheries in the current Government.”

Norman said it would appear from the outside that Jones was having “quite a big influence on fisheries policies”.

Jones said he had received donations from the company but they were in compliance with Parliament’s rules on donations.

He said Norman was using “politically lurid language,” which was “all part of their [Greenpeace’s] process to fundraise.

“Incidentally, Talley’s is the same company that donated heavily to the campaign of Shane Jones, who has emerged as the de facto Minister of Fisheries in the current Government.”

Speaking to the Herald, Norman said it would appear from the outside that Jones was having “quite a big influence on fisheries policies”.

Jones said he had received donations from the company but they were in compliance with Parliament’s rules on donations.

He said Norman was using “politically lurid language,” which was “all part of their [Greenpeace’s] process to fundraise”.

“Greenpeace has a track record of misinformation and exaggeration.

“It’s extraordinary that the Greenpeace’s Australian spokesman Russel Norman is ranting in such a way to damage the good name of New Zealand. Greenpeace has a track record of misinformation and exaggeration.

“It’s extraordinary that the Greenpeace’s Australian spokesman Russel Norman is ranting in such a way to damage the good name of New Zealand.”

One could suggest similar about Jones ranting.

Norman said this “obviously was not” his intention and said it was just a distraction from the fact an Amaltal fishing vessel was caught doing bottom trawls in a protected area of the Tasman Sea.

Amaltal is a subsidiary of fishing company Talley’s.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) said MPI had initiated a prosecution against Amaltal, as well as the person who was the master of the vessel at the time of the incident.

Both are facing charges under the Fisheries Act, the spokeswoman said.

In its own statement, Amaltal confirmed one of its fishing vessels had inadvertently fished in an unauthorised area of the Tasman Sea in May last year.

But Jones has defended Amaltal.

Jones said this was a “mere technical issue which would be ironed out when common sense prevails”.

A follow up from Newshub: Shane Jones in hot water over support for Talley’s accused of illegal fishing

Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is being accused of breaching parliamentary rules by appearing to support a fishing company that’s facing prosecution for illegal fishing.

New Zealand First MP Mr Jones described the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)’s case against agribusiness company Talley’s as a “technical issue” – when the Cabinet rules warn ministers against commenting on active cases.

But Mr Jones is now facing criticism for getting too close to the Talley’s case, calling it a “mere technical issue which would be ironed out when common sense prevails”.

On Friday he changed tact: “They are highly technical matters… and no doubt the court will be possessed of all the information.”

Greenpeace executive director Russel Norman said it’s “completely unacceptable for a Cabinet minister to intervene in an active court case where the Crown is taking Talley’s to court for environmental damage”.

The Amaltal Apollo, a vessel owned by a subsidiary of Talley’s, is facing 14 charges for fishing in protected waters in the Tasman Sea.

And Cabinet rules clearly state: “Ministers do not comment on or involve themselves in the investigation of offences or the decision as to whether a person should be prosecuted.”

“I think there’s no question that Jones has breached the Cabinet Manual, which is the rules that govern the behaviour of Ministers,” Mr Norman said.

It does look like quite questionable comment on a current investigation by Jones.

Talley’s donated $10,000 to Mr Jones’ 2017 campaign. And while Mr Jones accepts that, and that he’s mates with Talley’s boss, Sir Peter Talley, he says it doesn’t mean anything.

Instead, he’s blaming Greenpeace for spreading what he calls “misinformation”.

There seems to be some fairly solid information here that suggests that Jones is again an embarrassment to the Government.

Mr Jones has previously been chair of Sealords and held top positions within Māori and Pacific fishery organisations.

He makes no secret of his continued close relationships with the big commercial fishing companies.

It’ll be up to the Prime Minister to decide whether Mr Jones has overstepped the mark and breached the rules in this case.

Due to Labour’s reliance on NZ First for support will Jacinda Ardern do anything about it? Probably not in public at least, or nothing more than a slap over the wrist with a wet bait fish.

Leave a comment

16 Comments

  1. artcroft

     /  2nd February 2019

    And what will the Greens do? Is corruption ok with them as long as NZFirst do it? Is allowing Ministry of Primary Industries to operate as a subsidiary of Talleys acceptable to them? Or will James take action?

    Time for a genuine green party to emerge.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  2nd February 2019

      Probably keep their heads down & look the other way.

      Reply
    • Duker

       /  2nd February 2019

      A centrist green party ? heheheehe too funny

      Reply
      • artcroft

         /  2nd February 2019

        No you misunderstood. I said a green party. A party focused on the environment not on troughing and social engineering.

        Reply
  2. David

     /  2nd February 2019

    Jones is special, he can do as he pleases and the normal rules dont apply.

    Reply
  3. Patzcuaro

     /  2nd February 2019

    NZ was rugby, racing and beer,

    NZ First is Russians, racing and fishing

    Reply
  4. Gerrit

     /  2nd February 2019

    More fishing shenanigans between NZ First and the Greens.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/110279240/cameras-on-fishing-boats-delayed-angering-greens-and-greenpeace

    And jeez, is the Jones wonder boy not full of himself?

    “”Obviously as the first citizen of the provinces I have an intense interest in making sure that the provincial industries such as fisheries are not Shanghaied with unnecessary levels of red tape.””

    And more NZFirst interference

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/108752100/nz-first-blocking-scientists-fisheries-review-appointment-over-bias-claims

    “It’s understood the view of NZ First MPs involved in the process is they have veto power over any of the thousand of appointment ministers make each year as these are not spelled out in the coalition agreement”

    Oh boy; no wonder Ardern and Labour are so lead footed. NZ First have veto powers!

    Reply
  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  2nd February 2019

    Hilarious. As I posted a few weeks ago:

    Fishing policies
    Labour: Give people fish
    National: You can fish if you have enough money to buy quota
    NZF: You can fish if you donate to Winston First
    ACT: Teach people to fish
    Greens: Ban fishing

    Jones will be completely unphased by this stouch which brings him publicity and plays to NZ First anti-establishment support base. As for the Cabinet manual, it will be whatever Winston says it is.

    Reply
  6. Strong For Life

     /  2nd February 2019

    More corruption from Jones and NZ First supporting their fishing industry cronies. The PM will say nothing and do nothing. After all she gave Jones a multi-billion dollar pork barrel to dole out money at a whim.

    Reply
  7. Gerrit

     /  2nd February 2019

    Am surprised that more defenders of the Labour faith are not here to comment. Lurcher, Partizan, Blazer, etc, etc.

    Reply
  1. Greenpeace versus Shane Jones on fishing prosecution and NZ First donors — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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