The Green Party has launched a campaign calling on the Minister for Conservation, Kiritapu Allan and Minister for Energy, Megan Woods to fulfil a promise the Prime Minister made in 2017 to ban new mines on conservation land.
“The time for delay is over. The Government needs to ban urgently any new or expanded mines on conservation land in Aotearoa,” says Green Party spokesperson for conservation Eugenie Sage.
“Aotearoa is home to some of the world’s unique plants and animals, and many of our wild places are unsurpassed as nature’s taonga. However, because of the rules and law set down by previous governments, big mining companies have been allowed to trash land set aside for conservation with diggers and excavators that tear through fragile habitats and give the native plants and animals that live there little chance of survival.
“In 2017 in the Speech from the Throne, the Prime Minister promised to put a stop to this and ban mining on conversation land once and for all. New Zealand First was able to frustrate progress last term. Now with a strong mandate and a big majority, Labour is free to make good on that promise. It needs to act now.
“Since 2017 the Government has continued to approve prospecting, exploration and mining activities over more than 150,000 hectares of public conservation land.
“This should not be happening in the midst of a biodiversity crisis, with nearly 4,000 of our native plants and wildlife currently threatened with, or at risk of extinction.
“The Green Party has always put the protection of our natural world ahead of the short-term profits of multinational companies. Which is why today we are asking people to stand with us and urge the Government to fulfil its promise to make conservation land off-limits to new mining.
“And there is good reason for Ministers Allan and Woods to act immediately. At some point in the next few weeks, the multi-national mining company OceanaGold is planning to lodge resource consents asking the Thames Coromandel and Waikato Regional Councils to approve its plans to mine for gold beneath one of only two remaining habitats for Aotearoa New Zealand’s Archey's frog.
“Archey’s frog is the smallest of our four native frogs and one of the rarest and most endangered in the world. It is a perfect example of what the Government promised to protect when it committed to banning new mining on conservation land four years ago.
“Instead of allowing companies to dig up the precious natural places and unique wildlife New Zealanders love, the Government should invest in recovering resources from products we have already used. We can create new jobs, reduce waste to landfill and protect nature by recovering metals from computers, mobile phones, batteries and other e-waste,” says Eugenie Sage.
“If Labour says it wants to complete the reclassification of stewardship land which the Conservation Minister has started; then we need a moratorium on new applications for mining activities on conservation land until that reclassification process is completed,” she says.