Damning new polling data released today shows that only 15% of New Zealanders trust Minister Shane Jones to look after New Zealand’s ocean and fisheries, the job he’s entrusted to do in his Ministerial position.

The data collected by Horizon Research also shows that over half of respondents (57%) agree that Members of Parliament who accept donations from the fishing industry should not be the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries – a result that comes after a week where Jones wined and dined with fishing industry bosses who financed his election campaign.

Greenpeace oceans campaigner Ellie Hooper says the data speaks for itself.

“This polling shows the clear lack of trust that New Zealanders have in Shane Jones as the Minister of Oceans and Fisheries. They simply don’t believe that he’s going to look after the marine life New Zealanders hold dear, from deep sea coral to whales and seabirds,”  she says.

“New Zealanders are fair-minded, and they see it as a serious issue that Jones takes donations from the commercial fishing sector when he is responsible for regulating that industry.

“The data also confirms what we already know – that the vast majority of New Zealanders want increased ocean protection, transparency around what the commercial fishing industry gets up to at sea, and a ban on destructive bottom trawling in the South Pacific. Even those who voted for New Zealand First in the last election want better than what Shane Jones is threatening/offering.”

The data shows that 73% of those polled want bottom trawling banned in the South Pacific, despite Jones signing off on New Zealand’s position to block any further protections for vulnerable habitats in the area this month.

Hooper says Jones seems adamant to do the opposite of what New Zealanders – including New Zealand First voters – want.

“Look, the poll shows that 80% of New Zealanders want cameras on all commercial fishing vessels, yet Jones has already asked for a review of the cameras on boats programme, which, surprise, surprise, one of his major donors – the CEO of fishing company Westfleet – has called for.” 

This week, Jones reiterated to the media that he sees his role as being an advocate for the commercial fishing industry, as he dined out with industry heads.

“Jones has wasted no time getting to the fishing industry’s bidding,” says Hooper.

“The commercial fishing industry may be funding his political campaigns, but he’ll be losing voters who want to see more protection for the ocean.

“New Zealanders care about protecting marine wildlife from corals to dolphins, whales and seabirds like the Toroa. To protect the ocean and all the life it supports, we need leaders who put ocean health first, ban the most destructive fishing practices from where they do the most harm, and commit to keeping the industry accountable, not ones who pander to industry interests.” 

Full polling can be accessed here.

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