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Govt prepares to gut more fishing entrepreneurs

Govt prepares to gut more fishing entrepreneurs

The Government is setting a net that promises to put more hard working fishing entrepreneurs out of business, according to the National Party Fisheries spokesman Phil Heatley.

"The Government plans to introduce legislation that forces regional councils to offer the permits to the highest bidder, when those permits expire for Marine Farmers operating in an Aquaculture Management Area.

"Wouldn't it be a fairer course of action to give the existing farmers the first right of refusal," Mr Heatley says.

"We're talking about hundreds of permits.

"Those holding the permits have invested blood sweat and tears, they employ enthusiastic locals and they've taken a pioneering role in a developing industry.

"Now the Government's proposing to cut their legs out from under them, offering them no security for the future," says Mr Heatley.

"Where's the incentive to invest?

"There's nothing to stop the major industry players - the big fish, from gobbling up the little fish, who can't compete in an open tender.

"Yesterday I highlighted the bloody mindedness of the Fisheries Ministry with their handling of oyster farmers at Waikare Inlet," says Mr Heatley.

"Today I've identified another gross inequity in the system and this will not be the end.

"The National Party wants the Government to give the fishing industry a fair go, because in all fairness, Labour's had more than four years to sort things out," Mr Heatley says.

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