Government leaves aquaculture industry at sea

If the Government had acted in its first term, the Sanford mussel processing plant would not have to close, says Labour’s Fisheries spokesperson Rino Tirikatene.

“Sanford is considering closure after a decline in the natural supply of spat. This is going to put 232 jobs at risk in Christchurch.

"The mussel industry relies on spat, very young shellfish which are collected from beaches mainly in the Far North. 

“We might have been at the stage where we could farm spat if the government had not removed incentives to invest in research and development in its first term. 

"Research and development spending in New Zealand continues to fall below the OECD average after National removed Labour's research and development tax credits. The government can do more to protect jobs by creating incentives to invest in industries like aquaculture.

“In the meantime the government can direct the Crown Research Institutes to study the development of spat farming in an effort to protect the remaining jobs in the industry,” says Rino Tirikatene.

“Labour is standing by the Sanford workers at this difficult time and I will seek talks with the company, and Aquaculture New Zealand and Seafood New Zealand.”