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Five years of fighting to protect Tangaroa

As Greta Thunberg challenges the world stage at the UN about our irresponsible behaviour and abuse on the planet, we still have people in Aotearoa that have little regard for the environment and will assert that seabed mining and sediment plume from this activity is non pollutant. However, Ngāti Ruanui, Ngā Rauru, Te Ohu Kaimoana and others had their day in court this week to keep up the fight to protect our land and ocean. “They keep up the fight and continue to challenge the status quo because in this era of environmentalism, we still aren’t doing enough to protect the planet” says Che Wilson, President of the Māori Party.

“I take my hat off to the whānau as it’s been a 5 year fight and over the last three days they have challenged Trans Tasman Resources in the Court of Appeal in Wellington”, says Wilson. This case is the first to test the new EEZ Act and Ngāti Ruanui and others won at the High Court and now TTR have taken this case to the next level. Wilson notes that, “If TTR can’t provide certainty then the law must favour caution and we will all be waiting for the decision”.

“Iwi often have to challenge environmental decisions because the system has been manipulated to favour those desecrating our environment, to favour male, pale, stale and the Environmental Protection Authority should also be questioned as to whether there is bias in their ranks” says Wilson.

This system is also allowing continued desecration as the recommended National Policy Statement for water protects the status quo of hydro generators even though their desecration of waterways always has material impact on the environment and diverted rivers into the hydro power system. “This Green supported government is promoting the death of diverted waterways to ensure that hydro power companies are not affected in these new changes. It’s as if it’s a Tui Advert where, seabed mining and hydro power generators never pollute, yeah right!” says Wilson.

TTR must show how they are protecting the environment and the fact that seabed miners and other polluters, like hydro power generators get away with it shows the power of the system to protect itself. Wilson notes that “kaitiakitanga is the Māori gift to the world but we need to be able to share it properly and it shouldn’t be just window dressing. Ngāti Ruanui, Ngā Rauru and Te Ohu Kaimoana have stood up for kaitiakitanga and protecting the Tangaroa over their three days at the Court of Appeal.”

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