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Smith must say no to Canadian trout imports

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Conservation Minister Nick Smith will be going against the will of Parliament if he approves an application to import Canadian lake trout to New Zealand, says Labour's Taupo MP Mark Burton.

Parliament's Transport and Environment Committee has recommended that Mr Burton's Conservation (Protection of Trout as a Non-Commercial Species) Bill should pass into law. The bill would ban commercial sale of trout in New Zealand, protecting it as a recreation-only species.

The Government imposed a temporary ban on trout imports last year while Parliament considered Mark Burton's bill. The Minister of Conservation is able to approve exemptions to the ban and a Canadian company has applied for permission to import.

"The select committee included MPs from all sides of the House, with only Act opposing the bill. Nick Smith should remember that when he makes his decision."

"Claims from the Canadians and Federated Farmers that international trade agreements require the minister to approve the application don't stand up. New Zealand has a right to protect its unique lifestyle and natural resources and most of Parliament clearly believes it should. So do thousands of anglers and other Kiwis."

"Parliament might not have time to pass my bill this year. In the meantime Nick Smith has a moral obligation to give our trout fishery the protection Parliament and the public want."

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