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Govt Caves In On Clayton's Moratorium

19 March 2002

"Changes forced on the proposed aquaculture moratorium are a major U-turn for the Government," says National's Agriculture spokesman Gavan Herlihy.

Speaking in the debate on the Resource Management (Aquaculture Moratorium) Amendment Bill in Parliament today, Mr Herlihy said the original moratorium was very rigid and tight.

"The initial bill was only going to allow marine farm applications which had already been heard or were in the process of being appealed to proceed.

"However, what we now have is a flip-flop by the Government of the highest order and something diametrically opposed to the original moratorium."

Mr Herlihy says the revamped aquaculture moratorium will now see applications covering more than 17,000 hectares of sea area proceed through the planning process - almost four times the current area of marine farming in New Zealand.

"Despite bold claims made only last month by both Helen Clark and Primary Production Select Committee chairman Damien O'Connor that the Government would not back down, it is now promoting a Clayton's moratorium.

"It's obvious that the Prime Minister and Mr O'Connor - and the rest of the Government - were rolled by the Maori caucus, which came under intense pressure from iwi marine farming interests to ease the original rigid moratorium."

Mr Herlihy said National believes the planning mechanisms for aquaculture are inadequate and need to be addressed.

"However, we can't support this Clayton's moratorium, which effectively freezes aquaculture progress in the belief Government will satisfactorily address future planning issues with its second Bill.

"National cannot support even this watered down version of the moratorium until we see details of the legislation and the industry has had the opportunity to evaluate it as well," Gavan Herlihy concluded.

Ends

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