Aquaculture Reform Bill - 3rd Reading Speech

  • David Benson-Pope
Environment

Mr Speaker – I move that the Aquaculture Reform Bill now be read a third time.

The Aquaculture Reform Bill creates a new regime designed to allow the rational development of the industry, while ensuring the impacts of new aquaculture activity can be fully considered in relation to all coastal marine users.

We have acted to protect the coastline for all users. The whole purpose of the reform is to provide clarity and certainty to users, which was not there before.

The aquaculture industry has been held up under a moratorium for a number of years after an overload of marine farming applications left councils and communities struggling to assess projects and to keep up with demand.

The Aquaculture Reform Bill secures a sustainable future for New Zealand’s aquaculture. I’m confident it balances economic development, environmental sustainability and community concerns.

The Bill makes the Resource Management Act the main legislation for managing aquaculture. This will enable councils to effectively manage aquaculture and encourage the aquaculture industry to develop in a sustainable way.

There was a need for change. We listened hard to industry concerns and have responded, providing them with greater flexibility, certainty and fairness.

Let me thank firstly the industry, who have set aside any unease and worked in a co-operative manner with Government to reach this point. I would also like to thank the Select Committee, and the officials who supported the Select Committee. Their work has helped us reach our goal of a Bill that supports, clarifies and defines aquaculture’s place in the marine environment.

The Bill addresses Maori interests in commercial marine farming space by providing iwi, where possible, 20 percent of marine farming space allocated since 1992 and 20 percent of any future new space.

This is an important step. Settling contemporary commercial claims removes a major impediment to progress and certainty. This is in line with the 1992 Fisheries Settlement – aquaculture being the unfinished business of the 1992 Settlement.

The 2002 Waitangi Tribunal report entitled Ahu Moana: The Aquaculture and Marine Farming Report states plainly that then National Cabinet Minister of both Fisheries and Maori Affairs, Doug Kidd, had forbidden officials from including marine farming in that settlement.

The Waitangi Tribunal report reads: "He [Doug Kidd] thought that the Treasury had wanted to bring aquaculture into the quota management system, but he had personally forbidden Treasury officials from mentioning the matter during discussions on the deed of settlement since it would confuse an already complex set of negotiations."

It's time National put aside its obsession with Maori bashing. They need to put away the empty slogans and admit they don't have any solutions.

While it has taken time to reach this point, I am confident we have come up with a workable solution that will take us into a future that will see the exciting potential of the marine farming industry realised

I commend this Bill to the House.