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Three-way partnership for Marlborough aquaculture

Hon David Benson-Pope
Minister for the Environment
Member of Parliament for Dunedin South

20 April 2006 Media Statement
Three-way partnership helps Marlborough aquaculture

The Government, the Marlborough District Council, and the New Zealand Marine Farming Association have agreed on a financial package to assist in updating local aquaculture permits, Environment Minister David Benson-Pope announced today.

Under the Aquaculture Reform Act 2004, all leases and licences issued under the Marine Farming Act 1971 and marine farming permits issued under the Fisheries Act 1983 are automatically deemed to be coastal permits under the Resource Management Act.

Mr Benson-Pope said that the government is assisting the Marlborough District Council to review all permits and conditions, including those issued since 1991.

"Marlborough is a special case because it has around 700 individual sites - this is two thirds of the country’s aquaculture farms. The council is grabbing the ‘bull by the horns’ to get all the permits under one system in one go," Mr Benson-Pope said.

"The council will receive $123,000 to support its work to set up a streamlined one-stop-shop process and to consolidate aquaculture consent conditions.

"Marlborough has traditionally been a leader in aquaculture and this initiative to upgrade their permits is yet another example of their proactive management approach.

"I expect that the knowledge gained in Marlborough will be shared with other councils to assist them to do similar work," Mr Benson-Pope said.

Although individual permits holders will still have to pay for some parts of the overall review, the industry as a whole will benefit with lower costs in the future. In recognition of this the New Zealand Marine Farming Association (a Marlborough-based industry grouping) is also contributing $20,000 to assist with the process.

ENDS

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