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The real 'new era' for aquaculture

Phil Heatley MP
National Party Fisheries Spokesman

27 July 2006

The real ‘new era’ for aquaculture

National’s Fisheries spokesman, Phil Heatley, says the Government’s idea of a ‘new era’ for aquaculture involves strangling the industry to death with bureaucracy and dodgy reforms.

He is commenting on Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton’s message to the Aquaculture Council’s conference and AGM in Nelson today, in which he said New Zealand is entering a new era of partnership with the industry.

“The reality is that New Zealand’s aquaculture industry is struggling to survive in the face of Labour’s bureaucratic reforms,” says Mr Heatley.

”This so-called ‘new era’ trumpeted by Mr Anderton has seen the introduction of aquaculture reforms that will result in taxpayers being 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.

“The Government of the day will have to front up with a cheque for $250 million unless 20% of existing aquaculture space, and 20% of new space, is found for Maori.

“Labour’s own Dover Samuels has said the legislation is unworkable. No new aquaculture management areas have been created since the reforms were introduced.

“Even aquaculture research is hamstrung because researchers must be working in designated aquaculture management areas to conduct even small-scale field trials.

“The balance is currently set against the industry, and it is going to tip further if this Government continues with its weasel words and lack of action.

“With our natural resources, clean water and business smarts, we should be harnessing the full potential of our aquaculture industry.

“Instead, Labour has put in place a cumbersome set of regulations that few are satisfied with, except, it seems, Jim Anderton.”

ENDS

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