Public views to be sought on ‘no new mines on conservation land’ policy implementation

Public input will be sought on proposals to enact the Government’s policy of no new mines on conservation land, Conservation Minister, Eugenie Sage announced today.

Last November, in her Speech from the Throne, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced there would be no new mines on conservation land.

The Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage and Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods, will consult the mining sector, iwi, local government, environmental and community groups, and the wider public, through a discussion document to be released in September.

“Public conservation lands and waters are protected as places where nature can thrive and for New Zealanders and visitors to enjoy,” Eugenie Sage said.

“Mining generally degrades or destroys natural areas and the places that our unique birds, plants and insects live. It permanently changes natural features and landscapes and has significant water pollution risks.

“The discussion document will canvas options for implementing the policy and actions that flow out of that.

“We will also work closely with our Treaty partners throughout the process of defining how the policy will be implemented,” Eugenie Sage said.

Currently a range of mining activities occur on public conservation land, ranging from coal mines through to alluvial gold mines and gravel extraction, with the majority on the West Coast, Otago and Coromandel. There are also mines in Southland, Tasman and Otago. There are 113 approved mining operations on Conservation Land and 54 of these are active.

In New Zealand most mining, and all large scale mining, occurs off conservation land. 

“The discussion document will be a chance for the public and stakeholders to contribute their views on the issues Government needs to consider in implementing the policy, the best tools to use and how transitional arrangements could work,” Eugenie Sage said.

There will be no change to the status quo until final decisions on how to implement the policy direction are made.

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