It has been comforting to see so much concern about protecting the environment – from many who never usually comment on such controversial issues but the risks involved with this carp farm have inspired them to make their opinions public.
TRM anglers have commented they were disappointed the trout farm proposal did not generate similar interest.
So the response from the elected Taupo councillors – supposedly representing the voters (?) – is of interest…
The proposal to build a grass and silver carp farm in Taupo has divided councillors along with the community.
The Taupo Times asked every councillor if they support the proposal to build a grass and silver carp farm in the Taupo region and why, or why not. Their responses have been included verbatim below:
Mayor David Trewavas
“I wrote in support of the application from an economic development perspective, as that is one of the key themes in our long term strategy.
“I welcome initiatives that will provide employment for the people of the Taupō District and endorse new business proposals regularly.
“In doing so I entrust the various consenting authorities and scientific experts with ensuring any associated risks are mitigated, as they are the specialists and ultimately any final decision rests with them.”
Deputy Mayor Barry Hickling
Did not respond
Councillor John Boddy.
“I support the setting up of the carp farm with the species mentioned conditionally.
“This means all the conditions set by DOC and the Ministry for Primary Industries need to be met. They are not koi carp. It is not the responsibility of TDC to make that decision, it is up to the experts but we should be informed along the way.
“We are a small district and any business opportunities that leads to growth and employment should be welcomed.
“We do also have an untapped geothermal resource which this industry requires.”
Councillor Bernhard Chrustowski
“I conditionally support the proposal. It would need to have appropriate and effective environmental controls, conditions, safeguards and measures that would ensure the protection of our environment.
“One of my prerequisites would be to have a proven scientific methodology, mitigation and remedial plan and management programme inclusive of dealing with eggs, hatchings or mature fish in case of a breach from either the farm or during transportation.
“Provisions of the possible effects of climate change on the operation would also need to be prepared as well as an ongoing paid up bond and insurance policy that would pay for any remedial work until eradication is achieved in case of a mishap.
“Reasons for my conditional consent are economic growth, increased rates income, potential job growth and potential increase in tourism. Greater economic diversity whilst utilising renewable natural resources (like the Prawn Farm).
“As a matter of interest but not one of justification, it should be noted that a significant amount of our GDP and export earnings are linked to introduced species be it in relation to crop farming, forestry, dairy farming, sheep farming or even trout fisheries just to name a few.”
Later he added:
Councillor Rosie Harvey
“I was in support of the application as it was offering a new business opportunity for our area and it would be providing new employment opportunities for the Taupo/Turangi district which are always very welcome. It appeared to be a positive step in promoting the area as a viable alternative to supply city markets with what they need.
“Although I have faith in the Company who is proposing the farm ( and their associated planners and advisors) and appreciate their assurances that there will be no risks associated with it I, like any other local, have concerns that things can go wrong, either accidentally or otherwise so I now have reservations that need to be addressed.
“Until I can be categorically reassured that my concerns are without foundation then I am not fully in support of it proceeding, even though I would welcome the farm and the economic benefits it would bring to the area.”
Councillor Rosanne Jollands
“We cannot afford to have carp entering waterways. It doesn’t matter how low the probability, the cost to our district would be too high. Reading extensively on this matter, including comments from DOC, I see no guarantees this will not happen. I also question why this proposal was deemed not to require notification. I am supportive of new business ventures but not at the expense of the environment and local economy. Water plays a central role in our economy, it’s integral to our way of life. We need to promote the sustainable use of this valuable resource.”
Councillor Anna Park
“I am nervous that this being upstream of the Huka Falls that there is the risk of the carp entering the lake by ways of flooding into streams through substantial rainfall and then into the bigger catchments. I am interested to see what outcome is from the Minister. I am all for new business and jobs but we need to protect our pristine environment as well.”
Councillor John Williamson
Did not respond
Councillor Zane Cozens
“As a Councillor I have and will continue to support enterprise and development in the district but all business opportunities must be approached in a diligent fashion. We need to understand the impacts that this type of Aquaculture could have on our environment. My own initial investigations have placed me at odds with the proposal. The speed of its development from inception to an actual launch date is also of concern. Council has not discussed this project at all, so without that conversation occurring, the right questions being asked and all facts being presented, we are not able to support it.”
Councillor Maggie Stewart
Did not respond
Councillor Kirsty Truman
“This decision will not be one made lightly. The decision makers will have the full information to make an informed decision. Although the council is not involved in the resource consent process for this activity, from the limited information I have read I would be supportive of the project so long as there was certainty that no carp, their eggs or effluent could enter our waterways, Lake Taupo or the Waikato River from the closed system proposed.
“I support economic development and job creation in our district, and therefore would support new industry, so long as it was not to the detriment of our environment, waterways and fisheries.”
by MATT SHAND – Stuff
Minister of Conservation Maggie Barry has added comment on the proposed carp farm. “It has become apparent over the last six weeks that there are several unresolved issues around the application which would make it inappropriate for it to be given final approval without those matters being addressed first,” she said.
“Golden Harvest Aquaculture (the applicant) has been asked to assist in resolving those outstanding issues.
“As Minister of Conservation I have no further comment to make until we have heard back from the applicant.”