The Prime Minister said the controversial Te Kuha mine on high value conservation land will never get a resource consent in response to Green Party questions in Parliament today.
The proposed West Coast coal mine will knock the top off Mount Te Kuha, cut down 700 year-old rimu, pollute creeks with mining runoff, and result in the discharge of around 11 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. When confronted with some of the details of the proposal, the Prime Minister said “if that was the activity, then it would never get a resource consent”.
“When confronted by the realities of open cast coal mining, the Prime Minister responded like anyone else would, believing good process would protect high value conservation land from coal mining,” said Green Party conservation spokesperson Mojo Mathers.
“However, it is clear that good process has not been followed with the Department of Conservation (DOC) – nature’s statutory defender – putting in a weak submission which neither supported nor opposed the resource consent application for Stevenson Mining’s proposed open cast mine on Mt Te Kuha.
“Why is Bill English saying the proposed mine would never get a consent given the damage it will do, but DOC is staying neutral about it?
“I’m concerned that Government Ministers and other Government agencies such as the Ministry of Business and Innovation may be preventing DOC from speaking out.
“The law requires DOC to preserve and protect conservation land. DOC is responsible for safeguarding our native plants and wildlife and wild landscapes. DOC must not be pressured into neglecting its core responsibilities,” said Ms Mathers.