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Greens Support Marine Farming Moratorium Changes

The Green Party is supporting a select committee report tabled today which recommends excluding more applications from a moratorium on marine farming.

The Primary Production select committee looking at the RMA (Aquaculture Moratorium) Amendment Bill has recommended that an additional 110 applications should be excluded from the moratorium because they have already reached the public notification stage. Originally the bill proposed that only applications which had progressed past notification to the hearing stage should be exempt.

Green Party MP on the select committee, Mr Ewen-Street, said he supported the change because otherwise some applicants would be unfairly captured by the moratorium.

"Councils process applications in different ways, for example Marlborough District Council schedules hearings by location instead of by the date when applications were notified. It wouldn't be fair to cut off some applicants solely because they had happened to apply in a bay which hasn't come up for hearing yet.

"The original proposal also seriously disadvantaged Maori interests, like Whakatohea in Opotiki, who have invested huge amounts of time and effort in getting their applications up to the critical point in the process."

Mr Ewen-Street said the moratorium bill is a narrow piece of legislation, designed to stop new applications being considered before major legislation on marine farming goes through Parliament later this year.

"Clearly marine farming is constrained by environmental limits, particularly the amount of phytoplankton available for shellfish to feed on. There is also the issue of the enclosure of the public commons for private profit.

"The substantive legislation on aquaculture will be addressing those issues. The Green Party will be looking for that bill to set more stringent environmental conditions around marine farming," he said.

"We also want to see the major bill set out clear instructions to councils that they must take into consideration the cumulative effects of marine farming."

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