A former Stewart Island oyster farmer has hit out at the Ministry for Primary Industries after his first compensation offer came back at just a fraction of his original claim.
Bluff man Rodney Clark had millions of oysters removed from Big Glory Bay after the outbreak of the deadly parasite, Bonamia ostreae, and said that after months of waiting, the ministry had offered him 22c to the dollar in compensation.
"... and we've given them the information, we supplied them with photographs, they're actually telling us that we couldn't have sold the amount of oyster we had.
"It doesn't even begin to address our company's situation in terms of what we owe ... we have to pay those people that we borrowed money from, we've got bank overdrafts, we have to pay that money back."
The former Bluff Oyster Company general manager said he had been "a broken man" since the day his oysters were removed, and he and his wife were living on income from a part-time job, loans from friends and food he caught himself.
He said MPI had wrongly calculated the compensation offer by using numbers from other oyster farms.
"I just want MPI to deal with this properly, and not try and rip us off, not try and offer us 22c to the dollar when we can show them the size of oysters, and the number of oysters, and what we were selling them for. When we can produce the evidence, I don't expect them to use somebody else's claim on mine."
He said the directors of the company would discuss the offer, but it was an insult that needed to be addressed.
He had another seven claims still being processed by MPI, totalling about $70 million dollars.
A spokesman for MPI said it did not comment on individual cases.
Payments were made based on the value of the evidence they provided, which could include equipment such as ropes and cages, and oyster and mussel stock.
To help people provide the evidence, MPI worked with individual oyster farmers, along with a third-party surveillance consultant, to document what was removed.
A copy of the report was then made available to claimants and was discussed with them at face-to-face meetings.
The time it took to assess and approve a claim depended on several factors, including the type of claim, the information provided, and the value of the claim.
The ministry had approved and offered payments of about $622,000 to three claimants affected by the parasite. A further 21 claims were being assessed, he said.