Long overdue changes to the Crown Minerals Act are a welcome step in the right direction but the Government needs to go further to end the nonsensical search for fossil fuels.
“Keep fossil fuels in the ground. That is the simple message the science has made patently clear - and that elected leaders the world over need to act on. Now is the time to take a leadership role and give proper weight to climate change in crown minerals decisions,” says the Green Party’s spokesperson for energy and resources, Julie Anne Genter.
“The Crown Minerals Act has long been a barrier to the transition to a low carbon future, especially since the National Party used it to actively promote fossil fuels. A position it still seems to hold firm under Christopher Luxon.
“The Green Party is pleased these changes are being made. It just makes no sense that in a world where we need to cut climate pollution to limit global warming that we have legislation on our books that promotes the mining of fossil fuels.
“The Crown Minerals Act has never given sufficient weight to climate change, even before National’s amendments. This was proven a couple of months ago when the High Court found that “climate change considerations were not relevant to the decisions” under the Act.
“To address the climate crisis we have to keep fossil fuels in the ground where they belong.
“This can be done in several ways. First, to make it an explicit requirement for Ministers to consider climate change when granting mining permits. The second is to adopt Eugenie Sage’s member’s bill to ban any new coal mines anywhere in New Zealand and protect conservation lands and waters from any new coal, gold and other mines.”
The Green Party’s conservation spokesperson, Eugenie Sage added:
“We have a biodiversity crisis and a climate crisis. Supporting my member’s bill would help tackle both crises. It would also implement the promise Labour made in 2017 in the Speech from the Throne. It’s time they made good on that promise,” says Eugenie Sage.
“A further change that needs to be made to rectify the damage done by National is to repeal the so called Anadarko amendment, which National put in place to try to stop protests against oil exploration ships at sea.
“Without public consultation or a Bill of Rights Act review, National deliberately changed the law to severely limit peaceful protest. This Government has the opportunity to safeguard the legitimate right to protest fossil fuel exploration. The law should regulate mining, not act as private security for it,” says Julie Anne Genter.