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SPEECH: New Zealand First commits $100m to boost the aquaculture sector

In the formation of the current Government, New Zealand First made it a coalition agreement condition to recognise the potential for aquaculture in promoting regional economic growth.

Aquaculture was one of New Zealand First’s priorities and we are proud to have invested $37.9 million into aquaculture through the PGF and to have helped prepare the New Zealand Government’s Aquaculture Strategy in September 2019.

The industry is strong, with $600 million in annual sales (2018), 3000+ jobs, and 7% annual growth. The Aquaculture Strategy outlines the potential for the industry to grow to $3 billion by 2035 with three drivers;

  1. Innovation to maximise value – we have untapped potential to be more productive, efficient and high-value. Like our policy to improve value-add in dairy, we want to achieve the same value-add in aquaculture with products like premium salmon and mussel oils and powders
  2. Extension of land-based hatcheries – marine aquaculture needs juvenile stock grown at land-based hatcheries.
  3. Off Shore Ventures – expand aquaculture out to sea with open-ocean farming where there is serious capacity for growth.

Aquaculture can contribute significantly to regional prosperity, as in areas such as Marlborough, which already produces a large amount of New Zealand’s salmon and mussels.

New Zealand First policy is to provide the funding and statutory support to fulfil aquaculture’s growth potential.

We will provide Aquacorp more capital to de-risk ocean farming. 

  • New Zealand First believes that Aquacorp is the modern utility to facilitate Crown capital, Māori capital, and the broader investment market into the exciting aquaculture industry. An example of this is the Ōpōtiki Mussel Farm investment via the PGF.
  • It is New Zealand First policy to utilise the best global farming infrastructure including Norwegian technology and the Nordic experience.
  • New Zealand First will make up to $100 million available over time to expand marine farming and aquaculture ventures in the future (either from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund or the PGF).
  • New Zealand First Policy is for the Crown to underwrite the expansion into deep sea aquaculture of offshore marine farming in collaboration with other stakeholders. It will ensure that off-shore 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.

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.  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.

Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First

winston.peters@parliament.govt.nz

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