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Regional Councils slam Govt. aquaculture plans

Phil Heatley MP National Fisheries Spokesman

10 December 2003

Regional Councils slam Government aquaculture plans

The Government is set to extend an aquaculture moratorium amidst questions from regional councils on the value of the existing two-year moratorium, says a leaked Local Government New Zealand report.

The report, presented to Fisheries Minister Pete Hodgson last month, was tabled by National's Fisheries spokesman Phil Heatley in Parliament last night.

"Last week, the Minister denied any discontent from regional councils but it appears there is a huge gap between what's on offer and what the councils want," says Mr Heatley.

"The Government demanded that councils plan for aquaculture during the moratorium, but it didn't share essential fisheries and planning information.

"And any information it did offer was clearly inadequate," says Mr Heatley.

"The report says "the Government's intention of moving smoothly from the moratorium to a new regime ... is unlikely to eventuate. This, it says, has caused almost all regional councils to put their planning for Aquaculture Management Areas (AMAs) on hold.

"Clearly, little progress has been made under this two-year moratorium," says Mr Heatley.

"There is little reason for regional councils or marine farmers to have any confidence that a nine-month extension of this moratorium will achieve anything," he says.


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