The majority Labour Government has not sorted whether it will stop new mining on conservation land.
To make the matter worse, because of a lack of action the Department of Conservation is reviewing an access agreement for a open case mine on World Heritage listed land on the West Coast.
In 2017 the Labour Government promised to stop new mines on conservation land, but no progress has been made. In the last 3 years various Ministers pointed the finger at NZ First but now with NZ First no longer in Parliament or Government Labour is still undecided.
Conservation Minister Kiri Allan told Newshub that Cabinet is “yet to make any policy decisions in regards to no new mines this term”. She further said it is “on my radar” and expects to say more in the “coming months”.
She said: “The Government wants to ensure that mining happens in the right place, in the right way. There are still some key policy questions that need to be defined and clarified before any policy can be implemented,” Allan said.
It is known that Labour Ministers had a confused view of Conservation stewardship land. Despite it having all the protections of the Conservation Act, containing threatened biodiversity and ecosystems, and some it being listed internationally as World Heritage Areas, some thought it was low conservation value. The current provisions of the 4th Schedule of the Crown Minerals Act protect some conservation land from mineral activity but that doesn’t include stewardship land, World Heritage land or ecological areas on the West Coast, something ECO has long asked to have changed.
On the Coromandel Peninsula stewardship land south of the Kopu-Hikuai Road is under threat from mining proposals from Oceana Gold. The area is home to a number of rare and threatened species, including the endangered Archey’s frog.
Application to mine World Heritage Area
Forest and Bird has highlighted a mining proposal on the West Coast is a World Heritage Area. Mining in World Heritage areas is contrary to the goals and objectives of the World Heritage Convention which New Zealand has signed up to.
Kokiri Lime Company Limited has applied for 40-year consents to quarry approximately 30ha of primarily mature lowland native forest within Te Wāhipounamu South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. The planned quarry includes 15ha of conservation land, 1ha of which has been quarried before.
Kokiri Lime Company is onwed by members of the Fergusson family. Curiously this application substitutes for a 187ha earlier proposal. Submissions closed on 19 February. The five submissions received by DoC oppose the application.
This is a proposal that should have been turned down flat by the Department and Ministers.
Coromandel Watchdog is running a petition in support of calling for an immediate moratorium on minerals permits on Conservation Land. You are encouraged to sign it too and to help pass it around.
Further information see:
Newshub: Government failing to act on promise to ban new mines on conservation land despite Labour majority
Forest and Bird: New Mine would destroy native forest conservation land
DoC: Application for access arrangement to DoC by Kokiri Lime Company Ltd