Fallout from whitebait comment ‘fake news’

Recreational whitebaiter and whitebait working group member Ken Cochrane addresses about 200...
Recreational whitebaiter and whitebait working group member Ken Cochrane addresses about 200 people at a Southland Recreational Whitebaiters Association public meeting in Invercargill. PHOTO: KAREN.
Fallout from the "misogynistic" comments a Southland Fish and Game councillor made have been called "fake news" by a fellow whitebait ally.

At a Southland Recreational Whitebaiters Association meeting on Sunday, Cr Ken Cochrane said a Whitebait Working Group (WWG), of which he was part, was biased, with "chick scientists" from the Department of Conservation.

The meeting was held to discuss the new proposed whitebait regulations.

An emergency meeting of the Southland Fish and Game Council will be held tonight in Invercargill to discuss the comments and any consequences.

However, Responsible Kiwi Whitebaiting Association convener Darren Smith said fallout from the comments distracted from Cr Cochrane’s main point.

"Rather, it was just two words of many, mentioned in a long discussion and condemnation of the process and conclusion of the National Whitebait Working Group."

He said Cr Cochrane was the "fall guy" and instead, "the WWG should be reconvened with a terms of reference and process that is contrived by a much more representative and pragmatic group of Kiwis who can bring some common sense to the table".

Southland Fish & Game deputy chairman Lindsay Withington called the comments misogynistic after they received national attention and criticism, while Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage said Doc freshwater scientists deserved better than sexist, patronising comments.

Council chairman Graeme Watson said they would look for a resolution.

"I’m very apologetic for the whole thing ... as a council we’re taking it extremely seriously."

In a text message, Cr Cochrane declined to comment, saying he had been "muzzled".

Submissions on the whitebait regulation proposals close on March 16.




I sure hope the same standard is applied to every government employee who makes a stupid statement. We all make mistakes in things that we do and say at work. Some of us are more articulate than others. If the standard is zero mistakes for government employees such as Cr Cochrane then every other employee who say equally stupid things should also be forced to resign. Personally, much ado about nothing.