Teen presents salmon farm petition

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 15:28 12/12/2012

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Teenage environmental campaigner Leona Plaisier presented her 11,000 signature petition to Green Party list MP Steffan Browning at Parliament yesterday.

The petition against salmon farms being built in recreational water space would be formally presented to Parliament at the beginning of today's session, and was expected to be referred to the primary production select committee for consideration next year, Mr Browning said.

He offered to accept the petition after 17-year-old Miss Plaisier was turned down by Conservation Minister Amy Adams, Tourism Minister and Prime Minister John Banks, Primary Industries Minister David Carter and Kaikoura MP Colin King.

Miss Plaisier lives in the outer Pelorus Sound, where her family runs the Tui Nature Reserve. Earlier this year, she was named a Department of Conservation conservation champion and last month won a "Local Hero" award at the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year awards.

She was also nominated by DOC's Marlborough office for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's International Young Conservationist Award.

Nelson-based King Salmon has applied to build nine new salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds, eight of which are proposed in recreational areas where marine farming is prohibited.

The application is being handled by an Environmental Protection Authority board of inquiry, with a draft decision due this month.

Miss Plaisier submitted against the application at the board of inquiry hearing in Blenheim during September.

She said yesterday the authority's application process put people off making submissions.

"It is unfair to people without considerable time and resources and is not local-friendly."

Mr Browning, the Green Party's fisheries spokesman, said the Environmental Protection Authority should take into account the petition that highlights overwhelming public opposition to the application by New Zealand King Salmon to build the new salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds.

"Public concerns, such as the impact on the recreational use of this beautiful waterway, should be placed ahead of the private profit and polluting rights of a foreign-owned company," he said.

"The Government has signalled that they want to see King Salmon's proposal succeed. That position cuts across the views of locals and the local council plan which prohibits aquaculture in the proposed space."

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- The Marlborough Express

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