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Coastline exploration permit setting dangerous precedent

Taranaki coastline exploration permit setting dangerous precedent

The Government’s decision to allow Ironsand Mining exploration off the Taranaki coastline is creating policy whiplash.

Ngati Ruanui is questioning Green Party influence with the current Government, charged with the Conservation and associate Environment portfolios, and their commitment to steering away from fossil-fuelled industry.

Te Runanga o Ngati Ruanui Trust kaiarataki Debbie Ngarewa-Packer says the awarding of a 5 year exploration permit to Ironsands Offshore Mining Limited immediately off the New Plymouth coastline and inside a Marine Mammal Sanctuary is setting a dangerous precedent.

“Taranaki has been instructed by this coalition government to transition our economy away from fossil-fuelled industry. To do that we must have certainty that our unique appeal including natural resources will be protected,” she says.

“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern this year announced the end of offshore oil exploration in one part of the ocean but is giving the go-ahead to seabed mining in the middle of a sanctuary in another.”

Ngati Ruanui is questioning the Green party’s control and interest in their portfolios.

“Green party leader James Shaw said this government was ground-breaking because ‘for the first time they’d have ministerial control’ in the area’s important to their party. Where is that control now?

“What has been proven is that if mining were to take place the sludge from the plume of impact would reverberate down the coastline affecting far more than just the approved zone. The overall influence on our eco-systems just is not worth it.”

Ngarewa-Packer says the potential years of ongoing pollution would ensure irreparable damage to marine life and reefs. Future generations will be left to clean up the mess.

“We only have to look across the ditch at Australia’s dying Great Barrier Reef to see just how damaging this archaic form of economic development is. Exploration is a precursor to allowing the activity to take place.”

Ngarewa-Packer says the importance of protecting New Zealand’s future environment to the country’s economy is being undervalued.

The Taranaki coastline is at risk of becoming an ironsand mining wasteland instead of a progressive economy thriving on the authenticity of Taranaki experience in tourism, futuristic technology, innovative foods and a sustainable natural environment.

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