3 Sep 2020

Golden Bay's Port Tarakohe granted $20m for aquaculture hub re-development

5:49 pm on 3 September 2020

The top of the South Island's aquaculture industry leaders say a $20 million government investment is the missing piece of the puzzle for Golden Bay's burgeoning mussel industry.

Port Tarakohe

Port Tarakohe. Photo: Supplied / Tasman District Council

The loan via the Provincial Growth Fund was announced in Richmond today by the Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters.

He said it would help open up access to commercial marina berths, create more working wharf space, a new food grade wharf area and harbour master building, as well as create potential hundreds of jobs.

Peters was to have made the announcement a few weeks ago, but his electioneering road-trip had to be re-scheduled because of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

He was glad to have made it today, and was grateful for the official welcome by local iwi, led by archdeacon Harvey Whakaruru.

"Politicians have a habit of shaking your hand before an election, and your confidence after it."

Peters said the new port was also expected to create a greater demand for support services, such as boat maintenance and marine engineering.

Last year the Tasman District Council was awarded a quarter of a million dollars from the Provincial Growth Fund to investigate ways the council-owned port could grow in order to service an expanding aquaculture industry.

The government investment announced today was designed to boost that made by the council and industry.

Marine Farming Association president Jonathan Large said the industry was already well into a $100m investment plan through consents, farm infrastructure and vessels.

Jonathan Large, president of the Marine Farming Association.

Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

He said the support from government gave the industry the confidence it needed to continue operating from Golden Bay.

It comes at a time that Golden Bay residents are pushing for tighter controls on the marine farming industry.

Six locals have formed a group called the Marine Farming Impact Group, to raise awareness of the problems that marine farming was creating, as well as encouraging the industry to carry out their work responsibly for both residents and the environment.

Peters said up to 47,000 tonnes of mussels were expected to be harvested annually once all farms in Golden Bay were operating and in full production.

He said the upgrade would separate commercial and recreation activities at Tarakohe, which was also used by yachts and powerboats.

"It's not all for commercial gain as a replacement recreational marina will also be built."

Winston Peters at the Tasman District Council offices in Richmond.

Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

The project would also improve Golden Bay's resilience in the event of a natural disaster or Civil Defence emergency.

Large said in September last year the government announced its aquaculture strategy which included a growth target of $3 billion in annual sales by 2035.

"In post Covid times with the focus on first stabilising then increasing GDP, the government has again shown its confidence in the industry by bringing forward that target to 2030."

He said New Zealand aquaculture had some of the world's best seafood, from Michelin star cuisine to designer petfood for labradors with bad hips.

The Port Tarakohe redevelopment was expected to take two years to complete.

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