Conservationists arrested protecting conservation land
Today five individuals from Karangahake and other parts of the Coromandel , including former Green MP Catherine Delahunty, have been arrested for occupying conservation land at Mt Karangahake. They were peacefully protesting the mining activity that has been allowed in the area, and highlighting that Conservation land is for the people, not for mining.
"It beggars belief that our communities are being put into this situation; that they are havig to go to extreme lengths, risking arrest, simply for saying that they do not want this Australian company to come in here and mine. Compromising their tourism, their water and their quality of life" says Augusta Macassey-Pickard, spokesperson for Coromandel Watchdog of Hauraki.
Coromandel Watchdog, together with other local groups concerend with previous attempts to establish mining on conservation land in the area, secured a commitment from the Labour and Green Party's last year to extend the schedule 4 protection as far as Mt Te Aroha, thereby protecting it from mining. So far, there has been no movement by the Government to do this, despite that commitment.
"In the meantime, places like Mt Karangahake are being activilyh explored for gold, and the more time that passes, the more invested these companies become. We have said since this was first mooted that mining this area is unacceptable, mining conservation land is unacceptable. The (now) Government agree with us, so how are these people still in our mountains, drilling and degrading them? We need action now, and we are having to go to extreme lengths to get it. We will continue our (peaceful) protests until it is all protected."