During the annual meeting of Seafood New Zealand in Queenstown, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones lashed out at urban liberals who he said were trying to take the fishing industry down.
The Minister said said the attacks came from people who did not always understand what was at stake, and the industry had to fight back to protect itself. He said it was not just the fishing industry that was threatened but also Māori who had invested much of their economic heritage in the business were threatened too.
"Those of us such as me as a Māori, who have our legacy interests via the treaty in the fishing industry, need to gird our loins and protect ourselves," Mr Jones said.
"Rest assured, there is a largely metropolitan-based power culture, which seeks to do damage to our industry."
Environmental lobbyists have attacked the fishing industry for allegedly over fishing, which depletes marine resources, and also having a reckless attitude towards other species caught in fishing nets.
But Minister Jones have said that the fishing industry had nothing to be ashamed of, saying that it was a legitimate industry that was profitable with an internationally-reputable economic force, “and let no one take that away from us”, he told the audience.