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New aquaculture law means more stagnation

Phil Heatley
National Fisheries Spokesperson

17 March 2004

New aquaculture law means more stagnation

National has slammed the RMA (Aquaculture Moratorium Extension) Amendment Bill, due for it's third reading in Parliament today.

"Aquaculture has enormous potential in New Zealand, but the Government's now extended moratorium on new developments is causing serious harm," says Phil Heatley, National's fisheries spokesman.

"Yes there is an urgent need to fix the cumbersome legislation that currently governs aquaculture consents. But a total three year-plus freeze on industry growth to get these changes is totally unacceptable and is coming at huge cost to the sector.

"Too many marine farmers are now taking their skills overseas.

"National knows the Government is doing a deal with some Maori to give them 20% of the industry for free as a trade-off for the foreshore and seabed.

"So it is ironic that many of the groups affected by the moratorium are Maori, who are further being denied the chance to create employment and wealth for their local areas.

"The Government has become seriously bogged down by pandering to bureaucrats, environmentalists and some extreme Maori views."

In answers to written questions, the Minister of Fisheries has confirmed to Mr Heatley that the Ministry is not devoting increased funding to ensure this extended moratorium meets it's target.

"Judging by the mess that the Government has got itself into over the ownership of New Zealand's seabed and foreshore, and it's unwillingness to properly resource the aquaculture reforms, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw the moratorium pushed out even further," said Mr Heatley.

Ends

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