Government U-Turn On Mining Exposed
Labour and the Alliance have become so desperate to woo business that they have ripped up their conservation manifesto commitments on mining, former Conservation Minister Nick Smith said in Parliament during the General Debate today.
"Labour promised to amend the Crown Minerals Act to make it harder for mining on conservation land. Alliance was even tougher and said it would stop mining on all conservation land. Yet last week Commerce Minister Paul Swain and Alliance Leader and Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton told the New Zealand Minerals and Mining Conference, as part of the Government's campaign to cuddle up to business, that this was a far more mining-friendly Government and that access to conservation lands needed to be eased.
"Conservation Minister Sandra Lee has been left totally exposed by her colleagues as she personally must give consent to any mining applications on conservation land.
"Ms Lee is on the public record saying mining on conservation land is a 'complete and utter contradiction in terms'. Either Paul Swain and Jim Anderton are spouting meaningless rhetoric or Sandra Lee is going to be humiliated again by her Leader.
"The Government cannot tell mining interests one thing and environmentalists another. It is time for the Government to come clean and state whether its pre-election policy stands or not," Dr Smith said.