King Salmon can’t even get the most benign environmentalists on their side

via Stuff

King Salmon has been offered a sweetheart deal to move their salmon farms to pristine parts of the Marlborough Sounds. ?A toothless RMA process, and no public input.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has initiated a process to give King Salmon an “easy ride” for approvals for new salmon farms in the protected Outer Marlborough Sounds, says the Environmental Defence Society.

“MPI is essentially acting as a co-applicant for approvals that will override the Marlborough Council?s plans that prohibit aquaculture development in the Outer Sounds and that protect scenic and landscape values,” says EDS CEO Gary Taylor.

The Environmental Defence Society is essentially a fox in charge of the hen house. ?They are the business end of environmentalism that can generally be relied on not to be at all militant. ? But this King Salmon deal has even the EDS up in arms. ?

“The Marlborough Council is currently reviewing its plans and that is the proper place for decisions about aquaculture to be made. The issue should be subject to independent, strategic assessment and Environment Court scrutiny, not an ad hoc Ministerial decision that pits King Salmon?s commercial interests against those of the broader public including the tourist sector.

“There is no proper examination of the option of reducing stocking density at existing sites as a way forward to reduce water pollution from the farms.

“The process is a questionable one. It invites people to make written submissions, which will be considered by a panel appointed by government. There is no provision for cross-examination of experts and so the hearing lacks robustness. The panel makes recommendations to the Minister who decides with no rights of appeal. It looks very much like going through the motions.

“Judging by the information provided on the website, there?s very little weight being attached to landscape impacts and acknowledgement of the earlier Supreme Court decision in EDS v King Salmon Ltd. That decision is binding law and at least 3 of the 6 sites proposed should not even have got this far.

“Unfortunately King Salmon, a company that has always sought special treatment, has got it from our Government once again.”

King Salmon’s lobbying has now marginalised all other potential users of the Sounds, and with the help of government, the prospect of other businesses and even the public stopping this process from being implemented appears to be just about impossible.

This is essentially a dodgy deal that could not have been made without the government providing one business more support at the cost of everyone else.