Opposition spokesperson James Beer, who was a member of the select committee formed to consider the grievances of petitioners relating to purse seining in the Cook Islands’ exclusive economic zone, and all other related issues, claims proper procedures were not followed when filing the report. He claims the committee failed to vote on their submissions made in the report to parliament paragraph by paragraph “as per standing orders”.
The committee, headed by Brown, included Albert Nicholas, Toka Hagai and Willie John from the government side and Beer, Democratic Party leader William Heather, Ngamau Munokoa and Tamaiva Tuavera, who replaced Tangata Vavia, from the opposition.
“My understanding is that the findings in the report with recommendations and other details (should) be voted paragraph by paragraph in accordance to the standing orders, but this was not done,” Beer said.
“It’s very important to vote paragraph by paragraph because there are some points we do not agree with and would seek division so there can be amendments before the report prepared by the Finance minister is tabled in parliament.”
In the report, the select committee made a number of recommendations.
In his conclusion to the report, chairman Brown said, “the committee sincerely acknowledges with gratitude the concerns on purse seining raised by the petitioners, local stakeholders, international agencies and experts and the opposition.
“The committee also notes with interest the development of a new Marine Resources Act to replace the Marine Resources Act 2005 and encourages nation-wide consultations on the new Act.
“With the purpose of the new Act being to provide the Ministry of Marine Resources with the legal mandate to implement measures for the conservation, management and development of marine resources, fish processing and export, and related matters, the committee expects that changes arising from the overhaul of the Act will help to greatly improve marine resources management in the Cook Islands in the long term.”