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Te Heuheu Welcomes “No” To Trout Importing

Minister for Courts and local list MP Georgina te Heuheu today welcomed the Minister for Conservation’s announcement today to decline an application to import Canadian trout.

As a local MP and Minister of the Crown Mrs te Heuheu said she believes “it is appropriate that issues of poaching and the non-commercial status of trout are resolved first.”

"The local community including Ngati Tuwharetoa all have a keen interest in protecting the trout fishery resource for its future generations and the recreational and tourism opportunities that it creates," Mrs te Heuheu said.

"Expert advice has told us that it would be impossible to differentiate between imported trout and that which has been poached. As locals know poaching is a huge problem for Lake Taupo and in fact an issue for other trout fisheries," Mrs te Heuheu said.

A legal loophole between the Conservation Act and Biosecurity Act was identified last year that allowed trout to be imported for sale. The Customs Import Prohibition (Trout) Order was made under the Customs and Excise Act 1996 and took effect on 7 January 1999. It provides for the prohibition of trout importation for commercial use for a period of 18 months, other than with the Minister of Conservation's consent.

The Order is in place as an interim measure while the larger policy issues are resolved by Parliament via the Conservation (Protection of Trout as a Non-commercial Species) Bill. This bill seeks to enshrine in legislation the recreational status of trout and will have the effect of preventing commercial importation of trout flesh to New Zealand. The Bill has been carried forward to the next Parliament.

"Trout is unique in New Zealand as a solely recreational species. We do not allow New Zealanders to commercially produce and sell the product and it would be anomalous to allow others to do so,” Mrs te Heuheu said.

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