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Seafood Industry Fed up with Governments Plans

NEW ZEALAND - The New Zealand Government is intent on the destruction of the seafood industry according to the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council chief executive Owen Symmans in response to the Government's emissions trading Bill.

"This at a time when our country desperately needs the $1.3 billion plus export income the seafood industry provides," he said.

The Bill is inequitable as it excludes the industry from allocations offered to other export exposed sectors.

"The world is facing a food supply crisis - and the Government is making decisions that will drive our food producers out of business. We are denied the allocation of free units provided to all other export sectors with no explanation - reasonable or otherwise - for this exclusion.

"Our opposition to the Bill is due to the unfair treatment of the industry in respect of Government assistance. While the Government's decision to defer the introduction of the ETS for liquid fossil fuels for two years will help us adjust to the new environment, it does not remove the gross injustice of denying the industry the support offered to everyone else," he said.

New Zealand's fishing industry exports 92 per cent of its output, earning $1.3 billion per annum. It is an energy intensive sector with fuel being up to around 40% of the operating costs of vessels. The Bill provides for an allocation of units to sectors such as dairy, meat, cement, steel, forestry and aluminium, but excludes the fishing industry without reasonable justification.

"Frankly, we're fed up. The Government seems hell-bent on destroying New Zealand's fifth largest exporter. Zero emissions will be no substitute for unemployment and a third-world economy," Mr Symmans said.

Ellen Hardy

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