Survey supports plan

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 07:33 13/04/2012

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Only half the people in Marlborough realise they can make a submission on King Salmon's application to the Environmental Protection Authority, a survey shows.

The survey of 250 people, carried out online at the beginning of this month by Buzz Channel for NZ King Salmon, shows 53.6 per cent of Marlborough residents supported King Salmon's plans, while only 14.1 per cent opposed them. Another 32.3 per cent were undecided.

Most felt commerce and conservation could live together, with 43.5 per cent saying yes, mostly or all of the time, and 43.1 per cent saying yes, sometimes. Another 3.2 per cent said no, and 10.1 per cent said they didn't know.

But only 54 per cent said they would make a submission to a board of inquiry in order to have a say on the proposal. Others said they would write to a newspaper, talk to the council or write to their MP.

King Salmon has applied to the Environmental Protection Authority to add nine salmon farms to its existing five. If approved, the expansion will increase the company's water space by 11 hectares to 17 hectares – or 0.01 per cent of the 150,000 hectares in the Marlborough Sounds, chief executive Grant Rosewarne said.

Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson appointed a board of inquiry, overseen by the EPA, to decide on the application. Submissions are open until May 2.

Mr Rosewarne said anyone could make a submission to the board in writing, and on the EPA's prescribed form, which was on the authority's website or available by ringing its freephone on 0800 722 667.

"NZ King Salmon encourages local residents to submit," he said. Hearings were expected to start in mid-August.

Mr Rosewarne said the survey confirmed King Salmon's view that it had strong support from the silent majority and reflected the deep knowledge local people had about what it wanted to achieve.

"It's also very pleasing to note that almost nine out of 10 believe conservation and commerce are not mutually exclusive and can work in harmony."

Buzz Channel is an independent survey company with about 20,000 active panel members available to take part in online surveys. The company said it used filters to get a Marlborough sample and to have people 18 and older answer. Otherwise, sample selection was random. People cannot fill in the survey more than once, they cannot forward their link for others to do after they have completed it, and there is no opportunity for self-selection. Only panel members invited to take part are able to do so.

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- The Marlborough Express

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