Hon LIANNE DALZIEL (Minister of Commerce) on behalf of the
Minister for the Environment: I move,
That the Aquaculture Reform (Repeals and Transitional Provisions) Amendment Bill, the Fisheries Amendment Bill (No 2), the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Amendment Bill (No 2), and the Resource Management Amendment Bill (No 2) be now read a third time. I do not intend to traverse the very extensive coverage that I gave to the issues arising out of this legislation that I gave in my second reading address. I simply place on record my gratitude to members of the Primary Production Committee for their very hard work on this legislation. I know that they had a shortened period of time to look at it, because it was technical legislation addressing, as it does, the outcome of an Environment Court decision that allowed applications for aquaculture activities to be made before aquaculture management areas were defined in regional coastal plans. Addressing that matter was the primary intent of the legislation. Yes, we did tidy up other matters, as identified by Mr Heatley during the Committee stage, in respect of unitary authorities.
It has been very good to have such good assistance from members of the select committee and the Opposition in facilitating the passage of this legislation. I place on record as well the thanks of the Minister for the Environment to the officials who supported the select committee in that work. I commend the legislation to the House.
PHIL HEATLEY (National—Whangarei)
: The National Party will be supporting this legislation. It does address the findings of the Environment Court, made on 9 May 2006, that clarified that the applications for aquaculture space can only be inside aquaculture management areas. The intent of the law was that marine farms be inside aquaculture management areas only.
This legislation does freeze applications between 1 January 2005 and the court decision, such that they can proceed only if the area becomes an aquaculture management area and it cancels applications made after the court decision. Of course, the applications that are frozen are still able eventually to be involved in marine farming if the area becomes an aquaculture management area within the next decade. If not, of course, those applications will fall void.
It is true that this legislation is very complex. It reflects the fundamental problems with the underlying legislation. The progress of creating new marine farming spaces has been very slow. No new significant aquaculture management areas have been created in the last 3½ years, which, quite frankly, is a disgrace. It means that no 20 percent settlement has gone to Māori in that same time period of 3½ years. This legislation, along with the Fisheries Act 1996 Amendment Bill (No. 2), which we will be debating probably today also, will simply secure the current process—a process that clearly needs streamlining.
The industry wishes us to support this legislation and we are happy to do so. On behalf of the National Party I do say that it is an interim measure. It is a sticking plaster to temporarily deal with some pressing matters affecting the industry, and more fundamental changes need to be made, particularly to the overarching Resource Management Act. National supports this legislation. It is making some progress, but certainly not the progress that we want to see over the next decade.
Hon DAVID CARTER (National)
: In rising to support the Aquaculture Legislation Amendment Bill I acknowledge that legislatively this is a difficult area. It is an industry that I think has huge potential, but there are also difficulties around environmental issues and certainly the occupation of space, which people with competing interests feel they have a right to be involved in. The solutions are not easy.
In supporting this particular narrowly focused legislation, which tidies up one quite specific issue in Tasman Bay, I note that there is further legislation on the Order Paper that may or may not be referred to a select committee before the election. Even that legislation, I suspect, when passed through its full parliamentary process will not be enough to ensure that we harvest the potential of this industry. I look forward to the day when Parliament can have a realistic and unemotional debate on what we can do that is right for the New Zealand economy. We have huge potential, because of our unique location in the world. We have a very large ocean area that is ours, and the trend throughout the world now is to farm fish rather than harvest wild fish. Therefore I think that as that trend accelerates and the demand for fish products grows exponentially, the potential for New Zealand is huge. We cannot harvest that potential unless we have the correct legislative framework. As I said earlier, I think the passing of this legislation today and the subsequent legislation, if it does receive a third reading before the election, will in itself not be enough to unshackle this industry and let it go forth.
PITA PARAONE (NZ First)
: Tēnā koe, Madam Speaker. It is my pleasure to participate in the third reading of this legislation and to signal our support for it. I want to acknowledge the work of the Primary Production Committee; although I am not a member of it I did participate in the final areas of debate before the legislation was reported back to the House. Although I did not have any voting rights I want to accord my appreciation to the chairman for allowing me to contribute when I wanted to.
Aquaculture is an industry that has great potential for this country. Unfortunately we are not seeing the full benefits of this particular industry for whatever reason, be it political or otherwise. But this legislation will go a long way to see the acceleration of this industry as a major export source for the betterment of our country. I am particularly pleased to see that the issue of Māori fisheries has been addressed. I know that those in the industry, particularly those interested in Māori interests, are very supportive of this bill. I know that Te Ohu Kai Moana made representations on behalf of the Māori interests in fisheries, and came out in support of it.
I do not have too much more to say other than to say that this legislation is timely and I look forward to seeing this whole aquaculture industry grow not only for the benefit of those who will participate in it but for our country as a whole. Kia ora.