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Aquaculture Reforms - 1,097 Days Of Inaction

Phil Heatley MP
National Party Fisheries Spokesman
3 January 2008

Aquaculture reforms - 1,097 days of inaction

Not one new Aquaculture Management Area (AMA), anywhere in the country, has been created in the 1,097 days since the aquaculture reforms came into effect in January 2005, says National Party Fisheries spokesman Phil Heatley.

"Labour has put in place a cumbersome set of regulations that have come to zilch after three full years. Some space is still dribbling through under the old legislation but absolutely none under the new, according to Ministry of Fisheries documents that confirm 'no new space has been created' under the reforms.

"Fisheries Minister, Jim Anderton, has thrown committees at the problem, cash at the problem and made all sorts of lofty promises. But even he must now admit something's gone horribly wrong with the reforms.

"In a further twist, Maori were promised 20% of existing aquaculture space and 20% of future space as a treaty settlement in the aquaculture reforms.

"But rather than purchase existing space, Labour opted to use new space to settle both current and future commitments. However, papers from the Ministry of Fisheries recent financial review hearing say that 'currently no new space has been created; therefore there has been no accumulation of settlement space'.

"In other words, three years have slipped past Jim Anderton and absolutely nothing's been resolved. No existing space has been passed to Maori as promised, yet the Ministry's website says Maori are owed 2,134 hectare across the regions, or roughly 240 marine farms.

"The government of the day will be required to make a cash payment to Maori if the Fisheries Ministry can't find this water space by 2014.

"Expect Maori Party MPs to challenge Labour Maori MPs this election year over yet another settlement languishing and undelivered.

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

ATTACHED: 2006/2007 Financial Review Q & A [PDF]


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