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Aquaculture Square-off

If there was any doubt about where each of the parties stand on the question of aquaculture fish-farming on the Hauraki Gulf, the following should remove same. This is the text of a letter sent from Simon Friar to Glenn Leach today:

Hi Glenn

You will recall that at the Candidates Meeting at Whitianga last Friday, you made some very strong, and in my view, very erroneous claims that WRC did not support aquaculture on the peninsula.   You went on to explain that aquaculture is an important part of NZ’s economy – no-one is arguing with that.

I can understand that you might not be aware that in early 2008, I took the trouble to arrange a meeting between the industry, TCDC and WRC when I learned that there might have been WRC “roadblocks” in the way of aquaculture development.  I arranged a meeting at the Coromandel Fire Station with the parties.  It took the newly appointed WRC CEO, Bob Laing, about a nanosecond to work out that aquaculture was good for the district, the region and the nation as a whole.  The “roadblocks” were removed by Bob and a plan change was put in place.  

This move was then rendered unnecessary when the National Government was elected in late 2008 and it implemented a Board of Inquiry into this issue.   WRC made submissions to this Board and supported the process of introducing an area for marine farming.   As a result, 300 hectares was put aside for marine fish farming off the coast of Coromandel town.   WRC has been, and is, strongly supportive of aquaculture on the Coromandel.   You will be aware that WRC has now developed a new strategic direction which provides for a balanced approach to its business and encourages economic development throughout the region.

What I cannot understand is that you were unaware of the meeting that I arranged and was held between WRC, TCDC and the industry members a mere 4 days before your erroneous claims of disinterest by WRC in this issue.  Your CEO, David Hammond, and two senior staff members attended this meeting.    As far as WRC was concerned, the Chair, Deputy Chair, CEO and other senior staff were present.  The agenda for that meeting is attached.    This meeting was held in your Council Chambers and I thanked your CEO for offering the facilities.   CEO Bob Laing informed those who attended of the position of regional funding for regionally important infrastructure.      I believe that all parties left that meeting satisfied with the progress which included discussion about wharfing facilities at Coromandel Town and Sugarloaf.  If you were aware of the meeting, then I can only regard your claims at Whitianga as “mischievous” and self-serving to your council’s political views.

After the meeting, you advised me that if what I had said was correct, you would make a public apology.  Where do you stand with that undertaking?   I have seen nothing yet.   For obvious reasons, that needs to be sooner, rather than later.



Note the complete absence of any concern as to the environmental effects of this development. It appears to be a given that the proposal will proceed without any further hinderance from such considerations.

All that remains is for Simon/Glenn to sort out who is more in favour of such development, and for Glenn to issue a public apology in acordance with Simon's request - and pigs will fly!

As for the investors who are supposedly champing at the bit to put in their proposals, perhaps they are having second thoughts.




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