The Green Party is urging the Government to stick with its 2017 commitment to no new mines on public conservation land, as the Government speeds up the review and reclassification process for stewardship land, which comprises a third of the public conservation estate.
“The Greens are pleased to see more progress on reclassifying stewardship land, but we urge the Government and the two regional panels to make sure conservation principles, iwi Māori and the public interest are at the heart of decision-making.
“The purpose of the review must be to identify areas which deserve stronger legal protection such as national park or scenic reserve status to better protect their natural, cultural, historic or recreation values for the future,” says Green Party spokesperson for conservation Eugenie Sage.
“Stewardship land is conservation land. The Government must stick with its 2017 commitment to no new mines on public conservation land.
“New Zealanders want our conservation lands and waters, with their stunning natural and cultural landscapes and indigenous plants and wildlife, protected from bulldozers and diggers.
“The Government must make sure the reclassification process is not hijacked by mining and other commercial development interests, which will push for precious public conservation land to be sold off or removed from the conservation estate for their own economic gain.
“It would be a massive step backwards for nature, te ao Māori, the cultural importance of Papatūānuku, and Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Treaty settlement process if Aotearoa New Zealand was to lose any of its public conservation estate to extractive industry and commercial exploitation in the midst of a global biodiversity crisis.”
“It would also be a huge hit on our international reputation as we work towards better caring for biodiversity and a zero carbon future.”