Beach protection unites Nash & Ross

Keen observers of New Zealand politics may know how unusual it is for an opposition Member of Parliament to work on a policy matter with a Government Minister.

But Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross says he’s bucking the trend in the best interest of his local community.

Ross is working with Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash to find a way to protect Cockle Bay Beach’s shellfish from over-harvesting.

And Nash recently publicly confirmed their working relationship.

Nash told Newstalk ZB he’s “been doing a little bit of work with Jami-Lee Ross in Botany” relating to the Minister’s Fisheries portfolio.

“He’s advocating very hard for Cockle Bay,” Nash said of Ross.

Ross says he welcomes the public comments from Nash and that he’s been working with the Fisheries Minister this year to find a way to protect Cockle Bay Beach from over-harvesting.

“This is a serious issue for our local community and it needs to be addressed,” he says.

“Being an Independent MP enables me to work with Governments of all stripes in the best interest of Botany.

> Among the people at a sod-turning to begin construction on the Salvation Army’s new housing development in East Auckland were, from left, Howick Local Board member Mike Turinsky, Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross, and Salvation Army Lieutenants Ameet and Jessica Londhe. Photo supplied

“Working with the Minister has led to him arranging for his officials to meet directly with local residents about over-harvesting at Cockle Bay Beach.”

Ross has launched an online petition at www.ProtectCockleBay.nz that calls for the Government to close the beach to harvesting for at least five years so its shellfish population can recover.

The petition is gaining considerable support from the community, he says.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to work with Minister Nash to prevent a potential ecological crisis at Cockle Bay Beach.”

Ross says his work with Nash and other Government Ministers is not part of a formal arrangement.

“I’m demonstrating that, as an MP who sits in the middle of the two major parties, I’m able to work with either side to get the job done for Botany.”