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Aquaculture bill could provide industry certainty

Phil Heatley MP
National Party Fisheries Spokesman

1 September 2006

Aquaculture bill could provide certainty for industry

National’s Fisheries spokesman, Phil Heatley, has this week placed a Member’s Bill in the ballot that would provide an improved legislative framework for the aquaculture industry.

“The Resource Management (Aquaculture) Amendment Bill would ensure certainty for investors, encouragement for ongoing research and incentives so that the industry reaches its potential,” says Mr Heatley.

“Labour’s flawed aquaculture legislation has resulted in a cumbersome set of regulations that few are satisfied with. More than one-and-a-half years after it was passed into law, not a single new Aquaculture Management Area (AMA) has been created.

”Regional councils, who had high hopes for the legislation, have downed their tools because they have no incentive or direction to set up AMAs.

”Marine farmers can undertake a private plan change, but the bureaucracy and costs are insurmountable, with any positive result only coming many years down the track.

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

”Parliament needs to help the industry, not hinder it, and give investors the confidence to invest and develop.

“It is absurd that people with the initiative to trial new species in new areas or with new technology have to go through an arduous, time-consuming and expensive private plan change to do so.

“My Bill would allow for aquaculture research to occur outside AMAs, as a discretionary activity, as long as the research is confined to less than two hectares and is in association with a recognised research programme.

“Investors will have no confidence in aquaculture if they invest in the water, in the processing plant and in the market, then some fly-by-nighter is granted the space they are sitting on when permits come up for renewal. The current legislation has ‘additional criteria’ that incumbents must meet to resecure their permits. This produces uncertainty and stifles investment.

“My Bill provides for a simplified preferential process for incumbent permit holders to reapply for space they already occupy,” says Mr Heatley.


Resource Management (Aquaculture) Amendment Bill

Member’s Bill

Explanatory note

The aquaculture industry combines New Zealand’s natural resources with cutting edge research and development and could realise billion dollar potential as an export earner. This Bill provides an improved legislative framework that will ensure certainty for investors, encouragement for ongoing research and incentive so that the industry reaches this potential.

This Bill provides for aquaculture research, outside aquaculture management areas, to be considered a discretionary activity. It endorses the general approach recommended by those involved in aquaculture research and recognises the importance of increased productivity, utilising the best technology and developing a sustainable industry.

This Bill provides for a simplified preferential process for incumbent permit holders, upon permit expiry, to reapply for space they already occupy. This will reinforce the rights of incumbent marine farmers, giving them priority over newcomers because of their pre-existing aquaculture, processing and marketing investment. It will improve regulatory certainty and remove unnecessarily high transaction costs, creating stronger incentives for investment in innovation and sustainable development.

Phil Heatley

Resource Management (Aquaculture) Amendment Bill

Member’s Bill


The Parliament of New Zealand enacts as follows:

1 Title
This Act is the Resource Management (Aquaculture) Amendment Act 2006.

2 Commencement
This Act comes into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.

3 Principal Act amended
This Act amends the Resource Management Act 1991.

4 Purpose
The purpose of this Act is to improve certainty for investment and promote the future growth and development of the aquaculture industry.

Part 1
Aquaculture Research

5 Interpretation and application
Section 2(1) is amended by inserting, in its appropriate alphabetical order, the following definition:

Aquaculture research means aquaculture activities that are conducted solely—
(a) for defined research objectives involving the aquaculture of new or different species from those which are commercially farmed, or new methods of aquaculture or new environments for aquaculture; and
(b) by, on behalf of, or in association with, a recognised research agency; and
(c) for a period not exceeding 5 years and in an area not exceeding 2 hectares or otherwise not exceeding 2 hectares for surface structures where the activity requires such structures.

6 Restrictions on aquaculture activities in coastal marine area and on other activities in aquaculture management areas
Section 12A is amended by adding the following subsections:
(4) Notwithstanding subsection (1), a person may occupy a coastal marine area outside an aquaculture management area for the purposes of aquaculture research where expressly authorised by a coastal permit.

(5) an application for a coastal permit pursuant to subsection (4) shall be assessed as a discretionary activity unless otherwise provided in any relevant regional coastal plan or proposed regional coastal plan.

Part 2
Renewal of aquaculture consents

7 Additional criteria for considering applications for permits for space already used for aquaculture activities
Section 165ZJ of the Resource Management Act 1991 is repealed.


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