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Government Delays Hurting Marine Farming

Media Release
3 December 2003

Government Delays Hurting Marine Farming

New Zealand First says the Government’s marine farming and maritime resource policies are foundering in a sea of political mismanagement and administrative incompetence.

Local Government and Environment spokesperson Jim Peters says the extension of the moratorium on new aquaculture allocations and the lack of finality on an oceans policy show that the Government is drifting without direction on these issues.

“Marine farmers and potential marine farmers, including iwi, have long awaited the end of the planned moratorium on 25 March 2004. Regional councils were enjoined to plan for potential aquaculture areas, and councils such as the Northland Regional Council are this week engaged in a new round of regional public consultation on future aquaculture development.

“The extension of the moratorium until 31 December 2004 will severely hamper the development of aquaculture especially as the Government has given no firm intention about allocation and tendering. Government-fostered speculation about the retention of a percentage of marine farm space for iwi is also unsettling, especially as iwi in such places as Parengarenga Harbour see iwi exercising a major farming role.

“The unfortunate aspect of the moratorium is that not all parts of the country needed a national ban. The Government should have been working closely over recent months with the existing marine farming industry districts in developing the final form of aquaculture legislation for 26 March 2004.

“I wonder whether Fisheries Minister Pete Hodgson can confidently tell the industry that they can lodge applications after 1 January 2005, or whether he will resort on that date to a further ban on economic development,” said Mr Peters.

ENDS


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