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Raglan businesses oppose seabed mining proposals

Media Release 6/12/12

Raglan businesses overwhelmingly oppose seabed mining proposals

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The Raglan Chamber of Commerce last week announced its support for KASM, after its members responded to an email survey. An overwhelming majority, 88% were against seabed mining, 4% in favour and 8% had no firm opinion.

Chair of the Chamber, Stephanie Philp stated recently, “A major component of our tourism market is surfing, with an expanding environmental/eco tourism element. If our seabed or foreshore is damaged it will ruin that market.”

“In Raglan, business and the environment are inextricably linked. Our full board supports KASM's aims and it's passive protest of the matters at hand."

She added, “We already have major erosion around our coastline. Where mining has occurred in New Zealand and overseas, it has adversely affected the surf breaks and caused further erosion. This would be disastrous for our community and would undoubtedly impact on business.”

It wasn’t all about the money though, stated Ms. Philp. “We have major concerns about the impact on the endangered Maui's dolphin of which there are only 55 left. Not everything can be measured in economic terms. While we are a business organisation, we will not promote business at the expense of the environment or the community of which we're a part.“

Another local businessman, Harry Hill, is commencing an independent study into the economic benefits the town receives from its world famous point breaks; a survey that may become highly influential in the wrangle ensuing between those west coast towns that believe they may accrue some short term benefits from the mining plans, and those that would only stand to lose.

Says Mr. Hill, “I have watched these kinds of debates rage around the world, as they also did at Whangamata, concerning the value of surfing to the local economy. Nobody had attempted to accurately quantify it here, so I thought I would do it myself.“

Hill has a background in marketing gained working with Radio Live over many years, running his own successful business, and from his experience on the board of SurfAid, the world leading NGO, founded by Kiwi doctor Dave Jenkins.

His approach involves two separate questionnaires, one for local business and another for visitors to the town. He has been consulting with Chad Nelson, a Californian surfer who has done similar studies in regards to surfing in Orange County.

“We are using similar fields of enquiry to make the end data comparable, and if his results from Trestles are anything to go by, I think we are going to be quite surprised about the size of the numbers,” he says.

Mr Hill is not a KASM member, but is “very interested in the discussion going on,” and stated that he wanted to wait and see figures from both parties before making up his mind conclusively. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see the financial yield to the region from surfing is far greater than previously suspected,” he says.

Kasm have just concluded a widely publicized campaign, with Kiwi born pro surfer Dave Rastovich paddling a specialized 17 ft surfboard from Taranaki to Piha, which made headline news and galvanized large numbers of New Zealanders.

© Scoop Media

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