Most promising industry no substitute for smelter: Parker

Aquaculture will not fill the Tiwai-shaped gap in the Southland economy, the export minister says.

Its future was discussed during a breakfast with Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker and the local business community yesterday.

During a question and answer session, Southland aquaculture working group member Rex Chapman said it had worked for years to encourage aquaculture growth and the 2019 Aquaculture Strategy was "tailor-made" for the region.

However, the regulatory framework impeded growth.

David Parker. PHOTO: ODT FILES
David Parker. PHOTO: ODT FILES
"The RMA has not worked for many parts of New Zealand and that is very true of aquaculture."

He asked Mr Parker what the plan was. The minister responded there was progress being made, which included the National Environmental Standards on renewals for existing in-shore aquaculture.

However, Mr Parker said an issue to be "worked out" was if aquaculture participants using public space would be required to pay for it.

"I think if they come forward with some ideas as to a rent they might pay, that will prevent the risk of land banking, or sea-bed banking, and some of the other things will flow more easily."

That rent could be based on revenue or profit, but the minister was having discussions with those in the industry.

"It is true there is significant potential for deep-sea aquaculture and, done well, it will bring jobs and earn export revenues and it won’t have a significant impact on the environment."

The Westpac Economic Bulletin from August describes aquaculture as an industry that was identified as Southland’s "best near-term economic opportunity", although it was doubtful whether it could fully compensate for the loss of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter.

Mr Parker agreed.

"I wouldn’t pitch aquaculture as being a substitute for Tiwai.

"I know of no plan to build a replacement factory that would produce something else that would employ the same number of people."

Comments

Isn't if funny how the free market ideology works, how in the good times it's "back of govt business knows best" but when times turn bad it's "govt what's your plan? Govt bail us out. Govt bring in cheap labor. Govt train workers because we didn't." etc The blame goes on the Government fast enough when the tide turns.
After over 15 years of Rio Tinto threatening to close where is the contingency plan from area business leaders? Why haven't they put their money where their mouths are?
RT and Covid has shown how true the privatise the profits and socalise the losses saying really is.

I can't wait to see the smelter close, it should never have opened in the first place.
Rio Tinto is one of the worst of the Australian mining companies, they recently blew up 46000 year old historic sites just to get iron ore, and they did it intentionally.
The toxic waste stored in the Mataura Paper Mill is normal behaviour for this company, they have no idea of anything except profits for the shareholders and avoiding taxes and environmental responsibilities.
Under no circumstances should the company be given cheap power.

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