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Mussel farmers burdened with uncertainty and costs

The ACT Heartland Tour begins its second week with farmer meetings in the top of the South Island today.

Following a meeting with Havelock mussel farmers this morning, tour leader and ACT rural spokesman Owen Jennings said the biggest problems facing Havelock mussel farmers are uncertainty over Maori claims for the foreshore and seabed, and the costs of compliance with the Resource Management Act.

He promised ACT would deliver a more certain investment environment for inshore fisheries.

"Inshore fisheries have the capacity to be major export earners and promoters of jobs," Mr Jennings said. "But they are being held back because of uncertainty, which is hampering investment."

Mr Jennings said mussel farmers were also forced to go through a complex rigmarole to get licensed and re-licensed, under the Fisheries Act and Resource Management Act.

He said ACT in government would seriously reduce such compliance nightmares.

Mr Jennings is joined on the Heartland Tour by ACT farmer candidates Penny Webster, Gerry Eckhoff, Andy Davies and Graham Hewett. Last week the Tour traversed rural communities in the North Island. This week the tour will visit many rural communities in the South Island. Today's schedule includes farmer meetings in Havelock, Seddon, Ward, Clarence and Kaikoura.


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