“Campaigning by ACT has led to a change in the fishing and whitebaiting rules, making them fairer for all,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“Due to ACT advocating for fairness, the rules have now been changed. Had ACT not raised the issue, fishing would still be banned. On Saturday afternoon the COVID-19 website was changed to remove all references to “customary rights.”
“This is an enormous victory for common sense, and Kiwis who can safely go for a fish this weekend. Letting people do things so long as they’re safe, and treating all citizens equally are core ACT values.
“Last week the rules said ‘at Alert Level 4, recreational fishing and white baiting is not allowed, except for Māori customary fishing and whitebaiting.’ They now say ‘You can fish from a wharf or the shore,’ and ‘At Alert Level 4, you can fish for whitebait…’ References to Māori customary fishing and food gathering have been removed.
“Viruses do not discriminate by race, and neither should the law. The Police Commissioner wasn’t able to say last week what the legal definition of ‘customary’ was. He is a trained lawyer and in charge of the entire police force. If he couldn’t work out what the law meant, what hope did the rest of us have?
“The next discrimination the Government should remove is against butchers. The Government has never explained why people should drive past their beloved butcher, who’s going broke, just to queue up at their supermarket with a much larger crowd.
“If the Government can back down on safe fishing, surely they can back down on banning butchers?
“ACT will be here to make constructive criticisms where necessary and helpful suggestions where possible, while asking the questions New Zealanders need answered.”