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PM’s Presser – Mining leak “hysteria”

PM’s Presser – Mining leak “hysteria”

See also: Video: PM's Press Conference 15/3/10


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Reporters dug and dug, but there was no gold in them thar hills at Prime Minister John Key’s post-Cabinet press conference.

The PM opined on everything from football scholarships to security at the Rugby World Cup, but said little on a major development in the debate over mining Crown lands.

Conservation group Forest And Bird said Monday it had uncovered plans to allow mining on 7000 hectares of conservation land including Great Barrier Island, the Coromandel Peninsula and Eastern Paparoa National Park.

Forest And Bird spokesperson Kevin Hackwell said some considered areas such as Paparoa could only be accessed by open cast mining, which would destroy native forests and pollute waterways.

But the Prime Minister at Monday’s press conference refused to confirm or deny the reports.

At first Key dismissed them as “hysteria” but later conceded some of the information might have been leaked.

“It doesn’t mean it’s accurate information though and I haven’t seen a finalised version yet.”

Key signaled the responsibility lay with Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee.

“Some of the areas considered would never be acceptable to Cabinet, but the Minister has a responsibility to look at all of those issues”.

The government had broadened its review to include land not protected under Schedule 4, had already done some public polling in favour of mining and had conducted an independent economic analysis of the land’s value, he said.

Key expected to release the government’s discussion document in a few weeks, he said.

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