Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

West Coast gold mine false economy

22 May 2001

West Coast gold mine false economy - Greens

The Green Party is urging the Labour-Alliance Government to turn down a permit for access to a proposed open-cast gold mine involving the clearance of 260 hectares of indigenous forests on the West Coast, saying the environmental risks are too great.

The proposed site for GRD Macrae's mine is in the North Westland wildlife corridor of the Victoria Conservation Park near Reefton. It is an area of high rainfall and seismic instability which would make the mine's 75 hectares of tailings dams an unacceptable risk to adjoining ecosystems and local rivers.

"Where does the government stand on this mine?" asked Green co-Leader Rod Donald.

"On the one hand we have acting PM Jim Anderton saying he likes the idea of gold and would like more of it. On the other hand Conservation Minister Sandra Lee has a statutory duty to consider the long-term future of the region and the potential impact of such a mine on the ecology and conservation value of the area.

"And when is the Government going to fix the law allowing mining? Labour's election policy was to bring mining in the Conservation estate under the rules for all other concessions and the Alliance's policy is to stop mining on the Conservation estate," he said.

Mr Donald said if the access application was granted and there was any subsidence or instability in the tailings dam - as has occurred in the Golden Cross Mine near Waihi - the Inanguhua and Buller rivers would be at risk from serious contamination from a range of heavy metals.

"Today the Minister of Conservation was not able to answer whether the Crown has estimated the potential costs of managing in perpetuity the tailing dams at the proposed mine once it closes or the company ceases to function. We would ask the Government to take this issue extremely seriously given the $20 million which is already being spent on trying to stabilise the Golden Cross Mine at Waitekauri."

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment published a report on the risks from large tailings dams in August 1997. It showed a very poor rate of dams overseas maintaining the integrity needed for the many decades needed to keep their toxic contents contained.

"Allowing a massive toxic waste site to be imposed on conservation land would also be contrary to the Government's December 2000 report 'Towards a Waste Minimisation Strategy' which seeks the 'protection of the environment and human health from the harmful effects of waste' and aims for 'a society committed to waste minimisation'.

"The challenge for this Government is to provide real, long term jobs which protect the ecosystems and the environmental integrity of valuable natural areas, not jobs which are environmentally risky and unsustainable," Rod Donald said.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Tax Working Group’s Road Map

Trying to analyse the interim report on the Tax Working Group (TWG) is like trying to review an entire All Blacks game, but at the half- time mark.

With so much still to be finalised, Sir Michael Cullen and his colleagues are going to need all the All Blacks’ fabled finishing skills to get a coherent, fiscally neutral package together by the February 2019 deadline. More>>

 

Meth Testing Report: Housing NZ "To Right Wrong"

Phil Twyford “Housing NZ acknowledges that around 800 tenants suffered by either losing their tenancies, losing their possessions, being suspended from the public housing waiting list, negative effects on their credit ratings or, in the worst cases, being made homeless.” More>>

ALSO:

No Reshuffle: Meka Whaitiri Removed As A Minister

Meka Whaitiri will be removed as a Minister with immediate effect... The decision was made after receiving a report into an incident that occurred on 27 August in Gisborne, involving Meka Whaitiri and one of her staff. More>>

ALSO:

Pay Equity Bill: Making History For Women’s Pay

The Equal Pay Amendment Bill, introduced to the House today, will make it easier for workers to make a pay equity claim , using a more simple and accessible process within New Zealand’s existing bargaining framework. More>>

ALSO:

Suffrage 125: NZ A Trailblazer For Women

“We acknowledge the work of Kate Sheppard, Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia, and all of the suffragists who tirelessly campaigned for the vote… Today we also need to ask each other: how we can continue to make our country a fairer and better place to continue the legacy of the suffragists.” More>>

ALSO:

Asylum: Refugee Quota Increasing To 1500

“The quota increase will take place from July 2020. In the meantime, we will work to increase the number and spread of refugee resettlement and support services. We need to make sure we’re prepared for this change in policy.” More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels