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Hauraki Iwi Takes Fin-Fish Farming Bait

Waikato Regional Authority out out the following presser today that indicates a desire by Hauraki Iwi to take on the extraordinarily risky task of establishing a fin-fish farming enterprise on 240h of space 10ks off Coromandel.

It would appear that this is the only application despite the world-wide seeking of tenders by the Council - to no avail. The additional risks associated with this particular enterprise are manifest, and it appears that every effort will be made to provide the Iwi with maximum assistance, one way or another, to make sure that it succeeds. one can only presume from past statements that Mr Jones's $1 billion Regional Development Fund will be liberally accessed.

It is critically important to this Government, the Councils, and the industry that this venture succeeds, and when this confluence of vested interests is in place, facts become clouded in conjecture and often unwarranted optimism. The net result is that the truth becomes increasingly difficult to establish, along with financial arrangements.

I remain absolutely incredulous that this venture should be embraced while the environmental outcomes are so much in doubt. Are we to believe that the Hauraki Iwi are somehow in possession of all the answers that have so far escaped countless qualified observers, together with all those behind the promotion, regardless of the outcome of the demonstrably inadequate Inquiry into this particular proposal?

Here is the presser:

"The Waikato is on track to establish the North Island’s first offshore fin fish farm which will be for a new commercial species – kingfish.

Waikato Regional Council has granted Pare Hauraki Kaimoana authority to apply for resource consents to occupy 240 hectares of fin fish farming space in the Firth of Thames following a tender process.

The space, known as the Coromandel Marine Farming Zone, is located about 10 kilometres offshore of Coromandel Town.

Pare Hauraki Kaimoana propose farming kingfish in the space and the authorisation means they now have two years to prepare and submit an application for the necessary resource consents.

The council called for tenders in 2017 to assess market interest and applicant suitability to undertake fin fish farming in the zone. The tender proposals were assessed against criteria such as proposed environmental management practices, economic and social benefits to the community, and monetary contribution to the council and central government to occupy and use the water space. Following the tender evaluation and negotiation process, authorisation has been granted to Pare Hauraki Kaimoana. 

“Pare Hauraki Kaimoana are already a major player in our regional aquaculture industry and their tender proposal demonstrated a deep commitment to achieving environmental, economic and social outcomes for the region,” said the council’s chief executive, Vaughan Payne.

Dal Minogue, Thames-Coromandel constituency councillor, said: “Existing shellfish aquaculture around the Thames-Coromandel district, and related processing, generates just under $100 million of revenue a year and directly employs more than 550 people, making the Waikato region second only to the Marlborough Sounds in terms of production and employment.

“It’s exciting to think that, over time, successful fish farming in the Coromandel Marine Farming Zone could generate additional revenue of more than $50 million and dozens of full time jobs through expansion and diversification of the regional aquaculture industry,” Cr Minogue said. 

Several years ago there was strong interest in farming kingfish and hāpuku in the region. The Coromandel Marine Farming Zone was subsequently established in 2011 by a central government amendment to the Waikato Regional Coastal Plan. But due to the global financial crisis interest in fish farming waned.

Then in mid-2016 there was renewed interest from the aquaculture market in taking up space in the zone, resulting in the call for tenders.

Mr Payne said: “The approval process to issue the authorisation has been lengthy, in part because of the process specified in the Resource Management Act and also complexities in determining a commercial arrangement for a market that doesn’t yet exist in New Zealand.”

As the successful tender, Pare Hauraki Kaimoana has two years to apply to the council for a resource consent to ensure environmental factors are appropriately managed. Any application for a resource consent to farm fish must consider a staged approach to development, accompanied by a site specific assessment of potential environmental effects and a holistic environmental monitoring plan."

Good luck to Hauraki Iwi - may they tread very carefully, and ensure the the two-year interregnum allowed to prepare their full proposal is fully utilised.


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