Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Consents granted for 94-hectare Far North marine farm

30 January, 2013

Consents granted for 94-hectare Far North marine farm

Two independent commissioners have granted permission for a 94 hectare marine farm off Stephenson Island in the Far North, citing the significant economic benefits it will bring to an “impoverished” part of the country.

Applicant Westpac Mussels Distributors Limited had asked the Northland Regional Council for various resource consents for a proposed 125ha farm off the island in Whangaroa Bay, designed mainly to farm mussels and gather and collect mussel spat. It also proposed using the area for “occasional depuration and growing of oysters” and raising other shellfish like scallops and paua.

The applications were publicly notified in mid-October 2011 (subs: correct 2011), attracting 278 submissions; 14 in support, two neutral and 261 opposed. (Prior to the hearing – held in Kerikeri in December last year – one submitter withdrew their submission and one changed their position from opposition to neutral.)

In a just-released decision, the two commissioners said there were some minor, or possibly more than minor, adverse effects requiring mitigation and that could only be achieved by modifying Westpac Mussel’s proposal.

These included effects on the outstanding natural character of nearby Cone Island, on the natural character of the margin of Stephenson Island, on small boat anchoring and recreational and Maori customary fishing.

The commissioners granted Westpac Mussels the consents needed for the proposed farm, but for a reduced 94.05ha area, roughly 30ha smaller than had been sought. The changes are designed to mitigate the effects outlined above and will ensure the farm is at least 200 metres from the edge of Stephenson Island.

Commissioners’ chairman – Napier-based Rob van Voorthuysen – acknowledged that even in its modified form, there would be some residual adverse effects.

In particular, these included on landscape values, “the seabed benthic environment under and adjacent to the farm”, the displacement of dolphins frequenting the area, fishing and small boat anchoring.

“However, we find that the nature and scale of those residual adverse effects are, in our opinion, reasonably minor and not of sufficient scale to outweigh the significant positive social and economic benefits of the proposal.”

The commissioners’ overall decision was that the proposal be allowed to proceed “primarily due to the significant economic benefits that it will bring to an impoverished part of New Zealand”.

Evidence presented to the commissioners by economist Fraser Colegrave showed the farm – once fully operational – was expected to provide fulltime employment for 87 people within the region, with another 21 people elsewhere and boost regional GDP by $5.5 million.

Mr van Voorthuysen said also of particular relevance to the commissioners was the support from the Ririwha Ahu Whenua Trust, which represents the Maori owners of Stephenson Island.

The commissioners noted that any marine farm would probably result in residual adverse effects, irrespective of its location.

“(However) In that regard we consider the proposed location of this marine farm, being in the lee of a highly modified offshore island whose owners strongly support the proposal, is likely to be preferable to alternative locations that are either closer to the mainland or have more unmodified natural backdrops.”

The consents will last for 35 years. However, the fully developed farm will also require a bond of $132,000 to help enable the clean-up and restoration of the site “should the operation cease at some stage in the future”.

“The applicant intends making a significant investment in the proposed marine farm (which deserves a reasonable security of tenure) and in our view there are no potential adverse effects that would warrant the early cessation of the activity.”

Mr van Voorthuysen said potential adverse effects were “predictable” and had been accounted for in the commissioners’ evaluation of the proposal, but any unforseen adverse effects could be dealt with by way of subsequent reviews provided for in the consent conditions.

The commissioners’ decision can now be appealed to the Environment Court for 15 working days.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

TV3 Videos: Key's Flip-Flop Over Whale Oil Texts | Slater
Reaction: Greens | More
Dim-Post Link: The Very Odd Slightly Left Of Centre

Gordon Campbell: On Government Arrogance

Right now, National is ramming anti-terrorism measures through Parliament. This legislation will grant the SIS the power to carry out 48 hour bouts of surveillance on anyone without a warrant, and will bestow on government the power to unilaterally revoke anyone’s passports and thus deny them the freedom to travel.

Ludicrously, the public has been given exactly one day to make submissions on these major infringements of their civil liberties. Despite Finlayson’s misleading signals on RNZ that these are only stopgaps until next year’s full review of our security laws, the measures in question will not, in fact, expire until 2018.

Why the insane rush? Good question. More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Key Texts With Whale Oil Released: PM Can’t Be Trusted Over Dirty Politics Defence - Greens

John Key’s answers to questions about dirty politics can’t be trusted, after he was forced to admit that he had misled journalists and Parliament about contact with attack blogger Cameron Slater, said the Green Party today.. More>>

ALSO:

Temporary Release Crackdown Continues: Corrections Review Of Phillip Smith Case

“The review by Corrections’ Chief Custodial Officer reveals that the plan for Smith’s series of temporary releases was overly ambitious and misinformed. He’s a highly manipulative and deceptive person who although technically eligible, should not have been considered for temporary release." More>>

ALSO:

White Ribbon Day: Govt Resumes Sexual Violence Trial Proceedings Work

Justice Minister Amy Adams has asked the Law Commission to resume work on proposals for better supporting victims of sexual violence through the criminal process. The Law Commission will revisit its previous work on alternative pre-trial and trial processes to identify options for improving complainants’ experience in court. More>>

ALSO:

"New Faces, Wise Heads": Andrew Little Announces New Labour Line Up

Labour Leader Andrew Little today announced a bold new caucus line up which brings forward new talent and draws on the party’s depth of experience. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Rick Ellis As Te Papa’s New CEO

The recent appointment of former TVNZ boss Rick Ellis to head Te Papa has copped a fair bit of criticism. Much of it has been inspired by the suspicion that Ellis has been hired to pursue the same purely commercial goals as he did at TVNZ, while similarly neglecting the serious cultural side of his mandate. More>>

Passport Cancellation, Surveillance: Draft 'Foreign Fighters Legislation' Released

The final draft of the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill contains proposals previously announced by Mr Key in a major national security speech earlier this month. More>>

ALSO:

Related

Joint Statement: Establishment Of NZ-China Strategic Partnership

At the invitation of Governor-General Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae and Prime Minister The Rt Hon John Key of New Zealand, President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China made a state visit to New Zealand from 19 to 21 November 2014... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news