Teen firm in salmon protest

PENNY WARDLE
Last updated 12:00 19/11/2012

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A Pelorus Sound teenager plans to deliver her petition against New Zealand King Salmon expansion in the Marlborough Sounds to Green MP Steffan Browning on the steps of Parliament.

Seventeen-year-old Leona Plaisier, who opposes the development of more salmon farms in the Sounds, said yesterday she hoped to deliver the petition signed by about 11,000 people before December 19, when the the Environmental Protection Authority board of inquiry is due to release its draft decision on the King Salmon application.

Mr Browning was keen to act as the delivery person in Wellington she told the Marlborough Express.

He had offered last week after a story highlighted Miss Plaisier's frustrating at getting a Government MP to accept it. She had approached Conservation Minister Amy Adams, Tourism Minister and Prime Minister John Key, Primary Industries Minister David Carter and Kaikoura MP Colin King, who had all turned her down.

Mr King, who later said he did not remember turning Miss Plaisier down, said on Friday he was quite relaxed about Mr Browning taking the petition.

It would have had more impact if it had been presented when submissions were open, he said.

Mr Browning, a Green Party list MP who lives in Marlborough, is also opposed to the development of more salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds and had been happy to jointly present the petition with Mr King.

But the National MP had told him that was not an option.

"I think Leona's done a damn good job and I would be keen to see her developing her advocacy role," Mr Browning said.

The online petition has gathered 10,720 signatures since August and Miss Plaisier had collected more in Blenheim, Nelson and Wellington. She had presented a copy to the board of inquiry during the eight-week King Salmon hearing in Blenheim, which ended on October 18.

Last week she criticised the Primary Industries Minister for conflicting statements. He had told her he would not accept the petition because he wanted to remain neutral, yet he had told the New Zealand Aquaculture Conference this month that he wanted a "positive outcome" for the King Salmon application.

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- The Marlborough Express

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