NZ taxpayers fund planned habitat destruction
NZ taxpayers fund planned habitat destruction by foreign-owned company
16 January 2014
Kiwis Against Seabed Mining today challenged the Government’s decision to give seabed mining company Trans Tasman Resources up to $5million a year under a ‘high tech’ grant scheme.
The grants, announced this week by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce, are to encourage business innovation and growth for New Zealand companies.
Trans Tasman Resources has applied for a marine consent to mine ironsands off the South Taranaki Bight. However, TTR is largely foreign-owned, not listed on the NZX exchange, and it only has two New Zealand directors: its CEO Tim Crossley and former National Party leader Jenny Shipley.
“Why is the Government using taxpayer money to give a largely foreign-owned company an up to $5million annual grant,” asked Phil McCabe, chairperson of Kiwis Against Seabed Mining.
“TTR’s proposal guarantees large-scale marine habitat destruction in an ecologically sensitive area and would deliver low returns for our economy. There is no reason for the Government to back this business.
McCabe also questioned the Government’s definition of ‘high tech.’
“The Government has a twisted sense of what is ‘high tech’ if it includes an operation that is simply digging up raw material from the sea bed and selling it overseas.”
Public submissions against TTR’s application for a marine licence are open until January 28, extended after the Environmental Protection Agency failed to post the application onto its website in late November.