Govt approves Sealord deal

  • Pete Hodgson
Fisheries and Aquaculture

Finance Minister Michael Cullen and Fisheries Minister Pete Hodgson have approved the sale of BIL's 50 percent shareholding in Sealord to the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission [Te Ohu Kai Moana] and Japanese seafood company Nissui.

Under the deal, Nissui will own 50 percent of the Sealord operating company but Sealord's fish quota - which is almost a quarter of New Zealand's total - will be held entirely by Te Ohu Kai Moana.

"TOKM's ownership of the quota is very important, as the policy of this and previous governments is that our fisheries are a strategic asset that should remain in New Zealand hands," the Ministers said.

"That said, New Zealand welcomes foreign investment, especially of the quality represented in this agreement.

"Nissui has a proven track record in New Zealand. It was a shareholder in Sealord from 1973 to 1990 and has a stake in ANZCO Foods Ltd. It is also a sponsor of the New Zealand Rugby Football Union.

"Nissui is committed to supporting expansion plans which are expected to create up to 700 new jobs. That will boost the regional economies of Nelson and Dunedin, in particular, while also enhancing Sealord's global growth strategy.

"This is exactly the sort of overseas investment New Zealand wants and needs.

"Te Ohu Kai Moana chairman Shane Jones believes this deal is much better for Maori and for New Zealand than the proposals rejected by the Government last year. We agree with Mr Jones' assessment."