Labour has once again avoided taking decisions to protect ocean health and shown exactly why we need more Green MPs.
Debbie Ngarewa Packer’s members’ bill to ban seabed mining fell at the first hurdle in Parliament today, with Labour, National and ACT united in opposition.
“The time is now to put the health of our ocean’s habitats and ecosystems ahead of the profits of international mining corporations,” says Green Party oceans and fisheries spokesperson, Eugenie Sage.
“Deep sea mining destroys the seabed and smothers marine life with sediment. It needs to be stopped before it becomes widespread
“The Green Party has stood alongside iwi and hapu and community and environmental organisations and campaigned to put a stop to seabed mining for more than 12 years.
“We are disappointed Labour voted down the bill at first reading, preventing it being referred to a select committee and amended as required in response to public submissions.
“Failure to ban seabed mining around Aotearoa pushes the responsibility onto iwi and hapū, environmental organisations, local communities and fishers to defend our seabed and oceans from destructive mining applications, such as Trans Tasman Resources. They have carried that responsibility for the last 12 years. It’s a heavy burden and the Government needs to do its part by changing the law.
“We cannot continue to delay protecting our oceans and marine habitats by banning seabed mining.. There is no evidence to suggest that deep sea mining can occur without destroying the sea floor, and harming marine life
“Changing the law would also uphold successive court decisions which have said no to seabed mining by Trans Tasman Resources in the South Taranaki Bight.
“While a Select Committee inquiry will undoubtedly focus MPs’ minds on the importance of marine biodiversity and the impacts of deep sea mining, the Government has failed to take a stand against destructive industrial scale exploitation of our oceans.
“The solutions to the challenges facing our oceans including acidification, heating, overfishing, bycatch of protected species, and plastic waste are the same as they ever were. If there are more Green MPs at the decision making table after the election, we can take immediate action to protect the seabed and oceans
“I would also like Labour to take a stand against mining on protected public lands and support my member’s bill to protect conservation land from new mining which is also due for debate next week,” says Eugenie Sage.