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Taxpayers face $250 million Treaty compo payout

Phil Heatley MP - National Party Fisheries Spokesman

13 March 2006

Taxpayers face $250 million Treaty compo payout

Labour’s aquaculture reforms could end up costing the taxpayer more than $250 million in compensation, says National’s Fisheries spokesman, Phil Heatley.

Under aquaculture reforms introduced by legislation in 2004, taxpayers are required to make a cash payment to Maori if the Fisheries Ministry cannot find water space equivalent to around 240 marine farms to gift to Maori by 2014.

Mr Heatley says the compensation payment could be in excess of $250 million.

“The Government of the day will have to front up with a big cheque unless 20% of existing aquaculture space, and 20% of new space, is found for Maori.

“Not one single Aquaculture Management Area (AMA) has been set up anywhere along New Zealand’s coastline since the bureaucratic reforms were passed in Parliament.

“Regional councils have downed their tools because they have no incentive or direction to set up AMAs.

“If there is no new space for marine farms in general, then there is no new space for Maori.

“The current lack of progress signals that it is more likely that a future government will have to pay the cash rather than gift the space,” says Mr Heatley.

ENDS

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