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Most Councils Oppose Marine Farming Moratorium

ACT Environment Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff today said that all but two of the country's 14 regional authorities are opposed to the Government's moratorium on marine farming. He also predicted that the moratorium will probably last four-to-six years rather than the proposed two.

"In the past few days I've personally contacted all the regional authorities and only those in Auckland and Canterbury agree with the moratorium.

"The rest said that it was neither wanted nor necessary. Many expressed anger and frustration. The reality is that regional authorities over most of New Zealand are very happy with the level of planning and development they have achieved for marine farming - but two councils are not up to speed.

"Just yesterday, the Prime Minister said in her statement to Parliament that `one size fits all policies have failed New Zealand' - and yet the moratorium is exactly such a policy and as such it will surely fail too.

"The Resource Management - albeit with its many, many faults - was enacted to allow regional decisions to be made on local issues, such as marine farming. So why isn't the Government leaving these decisions to local people?

"What we will now have is Government officials weaving a tangled web of bureaucracy as they try to accommodate views of the Greens and the Alliance, recreational groups and all sorts of other interest groups as they try to arrive at a national policy statement on marine farming.

"There's no way policy work will be completed in two years under these sorts of conditions - inevitably the moratorium will grind on for much longer.

"I urge the Government to reconsider before great damage is done to this potential billion dollar industry. As a country we can't afford to wait," Gerry Eckhoff said.


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