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Friday
Jul202012

Alarm Bells

One comment in the last Chief Executives Monthly Report in relation to aquaculture should give rise to a collective shudder around the District.

“The Council could work to try to ensure that future consent conditions for farming these areas include a compulsion that processing be done on the Coromandel. Alternatively, Council may also like to weigh up the costs and benefits of taking up some of the lease areas itself or in partnership.”

I presume that Mr Hammett expects to be taken seriously on these two matters, and that he not simply ‘flying a kite’ for effect. In the first place, I cannot imagine any company that is serious about investment in the industry accepting direction from any council responsible for consenting making directions as to where it must place its processing facilities. Good luck to Mr Hammond on that – he may find that he is on fairly shaky legal ground in attempting to pull that one off.

The second suggestion that Council may consider taking up some of the lease areas on its own behalf is far more dangerous, and commercially adventurous. In the first place, it is entirely inappropriate for a consenting authority to even be suggesting that it may become a competing entity in such a controversial venture. There appears to be little or no understanding of the environmental dangers lurking in the background – witness the current problems being faced by New Zealand Salmon in the Marlborough Sounds.

Even if the proposal gets the green light, there will be on-going surveillance issues that will undoubtedly involve our Council, even if in a secondary role. Being both poacher and gamekeeper is highly contentious.  Secondly, the thought of our Council becoming involved in a commercial venture of this nature would be laughable if it was not so serious. Hammond should think things through before stirring up this commercially naive Council in this manner. It will need to be watched closely as we approach the consent process - more especially because of the Government's expressed intention to by-pass consenting elements, in the "National interests" of course.

 

 

 

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