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28 Months Is Long Enough

10 February 2004 PR 22/04

28 Months Is Long Enough

Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) has branded the moratorium on new aquaculture activities a "recipe for inertia", and strongly opposes its extension for a further nine months.

"There was no need to have the moratorium in the first place. An extension is not needed either," said Federation President Tom Lambie.

Aquaculture is the propagation and husbandry of aquatic plants and animals to supplement natural supply. The main aquaculture activity in New Zealand is the farming of mussels, pacific oyster, king salmon and paua. The 28-month moratorium on processing new marine farm resource consent applications was due to expire March 25, 2004. But the government late last year said it would extend it by about nine months, to the end of this year.

Federation representatives appeared yesterday before Parliament's Primary Production Select Committee to voice farmer opposition to the longer moratorium, The committee is considering the Resource Management (Aquaculture Moratorium Extension) Amendment Bill.

Aquaculture has the potential to offer land-based farmers the opportunity to diversify production, expanding opportunities for isolated rural communities in terms of product diversification and employment, Mr Lambie said.

"The moratorium is frustrating those who wish to make a start in the industry or wish to expand. Its continuance will only increase their level of frustration and uncertainty."

The moratorium has been an abrupt change to the rules under which potential marine farmers could expect their consent applications to be processed. The purpose of the original moratorium was to give time for councils to plan without changes being pre-empted by large numbers of applications. But instead many councils have seen the moratorium as an opportunity to do nothing.

"The irony here is that the existence of the moratorium itself has led to the need to extend it. Little progress has been made in resolving the matters the moratorium was meant to allow time to fix. Federated Farmers considers that the moratorium is unnecessary because local authorities have the ability to address the issues the moratorium purports to address. This is illustrated by the fact that many councils successfully dealt with these issued involved in aquaculture prior to the moratorium's introduction," he said.

ENDS

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