September 15, 2020
US$67 million to expand New Zealand's aquaculture, says political party
New Zealand's marine farming and aquaculture sectors would get NZ$100 million (US$67 million) for their expansion, the New Zealand First political party vowed.
In a statement, NZ First said its policy plan is to expand into deep sea aquaculture and offshore marine farming in collaboration with other stakeholders.
"It will ensure that offshore marine growing areas are not privatised for the benefit exclusively of private or foreign investors. This will ensure that the Crown gets a return on behalf of the public for commercial use of this marine open space," said NZ First leader Winston Peters.
Developing local aquaculture is one of the party's priorities, according to Peters, and doing that involves investing NZ$37.9 million (US$25.4 million) through the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF). NZ First previously helped prepare the New Zealand government's aquaculture strategy in September last year.
Peters said the industry is strong, with NZ$600 million (US$403 million) in annual sales, resulting in more than 3,000 jobs and 7% annual growth.
He added that the aquaculture strategy outlines the potential for the industry to grow to NZ$3 billion (US$2 billion) by 2035 through innovation to maximise value, extension of land-based hatcheries and offshore ventures. That development, NZ First said, can trickle to regional prosperity, as demonstrated in areas such as Marlborough, which already produces a large amount of New Zealand's salmon and mussels.
Peters said funding will make Aquacorp the modern utility to facilitate government capital, Māori capital and the broader market's investments into the aquaculture industry. He added that it is committed to utilising the best global farming infrastructure that includes Norwegian technology and the Nordic experience.
"Compared to other economies with marine resources, wise aquaculture policies have for too long been neglected and paid lip-service in New Zealand's politics," Peters said. "In these challenging COVID times, every opportunity in every sector of our economy must be used to its fullest if we are to improve New Zealand's economic position and as quickly as possible."