Kia ora whānau
As many of you know, we have the opportunity to fulfil whānau aspirations for a better, healthier iwi if we support Settlement, and vote YES to ratification #Whakatōhea2020.
While the Settlement will be a step in the right direction to restoring our rangatiratanga, especially now that the Ōpōtiki Harbour Development and the Mussel Factory are being supported with Crown funding.
Whakatōhea currently have a variety of interests across the mussel farming operation, owning marine space, investors in the mussel company, and kaitiaki of the moana. According to Aquaculture NZ, the industry employs over 3000 staff nationally and is worth over $500m to the local economy. Aquaculture NZ also states that they will be the next ‘Billion dollar industry’! This statement is supported by the Crown who say they will hit this target by 2025. Globally, Adroit Market Research says the aquaculture market will be worth USD$274.8B (approx. NZD$419B) by 2025.
With the recent announcement that a $79.4m investment from the Crowns Infrastructure Fund will go in to developing the Ōpōtiki harbour, the Trust were delighted. In addition to the harbour investment, $19m from the PGF fund will be invested into growing the scale of the Whakatōhea mussel farm operation. These projects will enable large scale commercial aquaculture operations to operate out of Ōpōtiki and fully develop the 5000ha reserved for Whakatōhea through Settlement. These projects will support economic growth creating 1850 jobs across the region, including 730 in Ōpōtiki.
Economist, Ian Dickson says the harbour development will enable a year-round navigable harbour entrance built to service large scale commercial operations to marine farm offshore from Ōpōtiki, in a safe and accessible way.
“A marine place of safety is essential for offshore marine farming to develop in the eastern Bay. It is the key piece of infrastructure that provides the backbone structure for the industry to grow on”.
The value of the 5000ha of Whakatōhea water space reserved in the Whakatōhea Settlement agreement has lifted exponentially with this announcement. Mr Dickson goes on to say, “The value uplift for Whakatōhea from the harbour going ahead is $50 to $80 million in addition to their Settlement offer”.
The future is bright as the aquaculture investments will provide jobs to whānau, not just labour jobs, but business roles in finance, administration and marketing, roles that can bring whanau back to Ōpōtiki.
The Settlement will allow Whakatōhea to capitalise on the investment in the harbour development and all the commercial opportunities this will afford. We urge you to get engaged, understand what the #Whakatōhea2020 Settlement could mean for you and your whānau, and support by voting YES at ratification.