Working paper

New Zealand King Salmon: was it a good decision for New Zealand?

New Zealand

Think Piece: (15 March 2013). On 22 February 2013, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) published the Board of Inquiry’s final report and decision on New Zealand King Salmon’s (NZKS) application to establish nine new salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds. The Board approved four of the nine farms, with conditions. This means up to 19,000 tonnes per annum of additional salmon feed can now be discharged into the Sounds.

Water quality and indeed the whole issue of water pollution and its effects are a very ‘live’ issue in New Zealand at the moment. Cleaning up water is a very expensive proposition. $450 million has been committed to cleaning up Lake Taupo, the Rotorua lakes and the Waikato River over 20 years. How much, then, would be needed to clean up the Marlborough Sounds, if such a clean-up was required? Are we well placed today to assess the benefits, costs and risks of the NZKS proposal in terms of any unwelcome consequences in the future?


Working paper (10 May 2013). This working paper provides background notes on the discussion raised in Think Piece 16: New Zealand King Salmon: Was it a good decision for New Zealand? The think piece outlines my observations and recommendations at a specific point in time (15 March 2013). Just as the think piece reflects a point in time, this working paper aims to provide more detailed background over time, allowing the Institute to continue to think about, learn from and report on the discussions. Initially circulated for external review in March this working paper has generated a substantial amount of feedback which we have now incorporated into the final paper, dated 10 May 2013.

This working paper comprises of 17 notes; 16 of which discuss the challenges in the process, and one that describes five opportunities that exist to improve the process. The challenges are listed in terms of the six stages in the process, from before the application was received by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to the post-‐decision stage. Each note begins with a boxed excerpt from the think piece, which is followed by an explanation of the background information and issues that shaped the think piece. The Institute welcomes comments, additions or queries about any of the information; as noted, our aim is to improve the quality of decisions and to promote informed discussion.

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