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Aquaculture bill seriously flawed

Aquaculture bill seriously flawed

National Party Leader Don Brash says the Aquaculture Reform Bill which is to be rushed through Parliament this week has serious flaws in it and should be delayed.

“This is not good law and National will oppose it all the way.

“The most contentious part of it is that it gives Maori up to 40% of future marine farming space, and that is where National’s issue lies: this is a blanket giveaway of up to 40% to iwi across the country, as opposed to a case-by-case approach to claims with merit.

“The 40% by itself seems to be grossly out of proportion, but the fact that Maori are getting any future marine space at all is also contentious. This extra allocation is being given as “the unfinished business” of the 1992 Fisheries Settlement, which, as far as the Government at the time was concerned, was full and final.

“There is absolutely no need to add to that settlement. And the final proportion could be much higher than that if Labour keeps revisiting Treaty settlements that were to have been full and final.

"Five iwi were given preferential tender rights to between 5% and 10% of aquaculture space between 1998 and 2003. Those settlements were to be full and final, but all five iwi will also be eligible to receive up to 40% of new space. This is an industry that's only 40 years old. It's fanciful for Maori to claim Treaty rights to any part of it.

"National is committed to settling all Treaty grievances, fairly, fully and finally. If elected next year, we will ensure all claims are settled by 2010, ensuring that all New Zealanders have equal access to beaches, lakes and waterways," says Dr Brash.

Among other parts of the bill National opposes are that it allows regional councils to re-tender occupied marine space if they deem it ‘necessary’, it has vague rules about how incumbents renew their licences, and it gives the Conservation Ministry an unacceptable level of power to thwart aquaculture proposals.

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