10 Aug 2013

Salmon firm hopes no further appeal

7:38 am on 10 August 2013

A salmon farming company says any new appeal against four new farms in the Marlborough Sounds would be madness, now the High Court has ruled against environmental groups.

Sustain our Sounds and the Environmental Defence Society objected to the Environment Court's decision to grant approval for New Zealand King Salmon to build the farms.

The groups appealed over two sites in particular - Waitata and Port Gore. They argued on points of law, saying the decision was clearly in breach of the New Zealand Coastal Policy statement which protects outstanding natural landscapes.

The High Court acknowledged the important issues and public interest in the case, but has rejected both appeals.

The two groups have 10 days to consider whether to appeal the High Court decision.

New Zealand King Salmon chief executive Grant Rosewarne says a further appeal would be madness and an incredible waste of resources.

"We've had exhaustive hearings, we've had the High Court now consider it. We're quite frankly exhausted from the whole process. We've got a situation where we've got declining volumes, we've got jobs under threat; on the other hand we've got the whole line of customers wanting our product."

Environmental Defence Society chairman Gary Taylor remains convinced there was an error of law by the board of inquiry over the Port Gore site. "They found that it was an outstanding natural landscape and then didn't protect it as they're required to do, we think, under the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement."

The chairman of Sustain our Sounds, Danny Boulton, says the High Court's decision sets a dangerous precedent.

Conservation Minister Nick Smith says the Government wants jobs and development but not at the expense of the environment, and he believes the High Court's decision reflects that.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says giving New Zealand King Salmon the go-ahead will create 200 new jobs and boost aquaculture's already important role in the Marlborough economy. Both ministers say the legal process has been thorough and robust and every submission was closely analysed.