NZ First promises USD 67 million to aquaculture expansion

The New Zealand First political party has vowed to commit NZD 100 million (USD 67 million, EUR 56 million) to the expansion of marine farming and aquaculture ventures in the future, according to NZ First leader Winston Peters.

In a statement, New Zealand 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 off-shore marine growing areas are not privatized 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,” Peters said.

Peters noted that it has always been one of the party’s priorities to develop aquaculture, investing NZD 37.9 million (USD 25.4 million, EUR 21.4 million) through the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF).

NZ First also assisted in preparing the New Zealand government’s aquaculture strategy in September 2019.

Peters said the industry is strong, with NZD 600 million (USD 403 million, EUR 339 million) in annual sales, resulting in more than 3,000 jobs and 7 percent annual growth.

He added the aquaculture strategy outlines the potential for the industry to grow to NZD 3 billion (USD 2 billion, EUR 1.7 billion) by 2035 through innovation to maximize 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.

It is committed, he said, to utilizing 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.”

Image courtesy of New Zealand King Salmon


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