Government bill to create marine farm certainty

Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones. Photo: SunLive.

The Coalition Government is delivering New Zealand’s aquaculture industry the confidence and security it needs to grow, says Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones.

A Bill which passed its first reading in Parliament on Saturday will extend current resource consents for marine farms by up to 20 years, removing a significant burden on the aquaculture industry and providing certainty for the future of marine farms.

“The current resource consent process is complicated, costly and time-consuming. Removing this unnecessary red tape through the Resource Management (Extended Duration of Coastal Permits for Marine Farms) Amendment Bill will give marine famers greater confidence to invest in improvements, new technology, species and practices to make them more productive and sustainable,” says Jones.

There are about 1200 marine farms that require one or more resource consents under the Resource Management Act 1991 to operate.

About 200 of them would need to renew their consents by the end of 2024.

These farms face costs of at least $20,000 to $100,000 to renew consents when they expire, in a process that takes an average of six months.

“Aquaculture is incredibly important for New Zealand. It provides jobs in the regions and contributes to our export-led recovery. One of my priorities is to remove barriers to the growth of aquaculture,” says Jones.

“Aquaculture generated $575 million in export revenue and employed 3225 people in 2023. The money the aquaculture industry spends on reconsenting, estimated to be $6m for 2024 alone, will be much better spent on employing more Kiwis, developing new technology and investing in the future of the industry.”

The reforms, which will apply only to existing consents, are aimed to be passed by July. Public consultation will occur as part of the select committee stage in June.

The extensions do not go beyond 2050, and the Bill includes the ability for councils to review the conditions of extended consents.

The consent process for new marine farms will be reviewed as part of the Coalition Government’s commitment to reforming the Resource Management Act.

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