Government comfortable with select committee view on aquaculture moratorium
08 March 2002
Fisheries Minister Pete Hodgson says the government is comfortable with the Primary Production Committee's key change to the Resource Management (Aquaculture Moratorium) Amendment Bill.
The committee has reported the Bill back to Parliament with an amendment that moves the point in the resource consent process at which marine farming applications become exempt from the moratorium. The exemption point has been moved to an earlier stage in the process, which will allow more applications to proceed during the moratorium period.
"The government is comfortable with the change made by the select committee, because it takes advantage of the information received through the submission process," Mr Hodgson said.
"It was not possible to consult the marine farming industry before announcing the moratorium, because that would have alerted prospective resource consent applicants and immediately undermined the point of having a moratorium at all. For that reason the government has remained open to changing the exemption point in light of the information expected from the submission process."
Mr Hodgson said moving the exemption point will allow about 140 more marine farming consent applications, covering about 15,000 hectares, to be processed over the two-year moratorium period. About 90 applications covering more than 30,000 hectares will still be subject to the moratorium.
Under the Bill's original terms about 80 consent applications, covering more than 800 hectares, were exempt from the moratorium. A further 168 proposals that have received resource consents are still under consideration for fisheries permits.
"The disadvantage of the change is that the burden of processing the extra applications will make it more difficult for regional councils to take advantage of the breathing space for developing regional coastal plans that the moratorium is designed to achieve," Mr Hodgson said. "However the government is satisfied that the change strikes an appropriate balance between the immediate interests of applicants and the longer term objectives of the aquaculture reforms."
Graeme Speden, press secretary, 04 471 9707 / 021 270 9055