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Which West Coast Plan Will Be Next For The Axe?

Which West Coast Plan Will Be Next For The Govt Axe?

ACT Deputy Leader Ken Shirley today predicted that the Pike River Coal development could be the next West Coast project torpedoed by this Government on scant environmental grounds.

Speaking ahead of tonight's public meeting in Reefton to discuss the axing of GRD Macraes' mining proposal, Mr Shirley said the Pike River proposal in many ways mirrored the GRD one. The Pike River project, being developed at a cost of $62 million, will have to cross Department of Conservation land.

"Undoubtedly extremists within the green movement will take heart from Sandra Lee's bad decisions and raise the barrier still further against West Coast interests.

"The sustainable use of renewable resources and the extraction of valuable and essential minerals are traditional core activities on the West Coast. For generations these activities have flourished without compromising environmental values.

"Within a space of 18 months this Labour/Alliance government has turned down both the Timberlands and Macraes mining proposals. I now seriously doubt that the Pike River coal development will be allowed to proceed under this government's tenure.

"This decision of Sandra Lee makes a mockery of the regional development policies of her Alliance cabinet colleague Jim Anderton.

"This is a matter for collective Government responsibility. Helen Clark cannot hide behind Sandra Lee's statutory independence in this matter. If the government is not satisfied with Lee's standard of decision making, given this and the many other fiascos including Whitianga Waterways, then the Prime Minister has an obligation to withdraw her Ministerial warrant. That is give Sandra Lee the sack.

"If regions such as the West Coast are consistently denied the right to utilise their natural resources for the generation of wealth and provision of jobs then regional assistance becomes nothing more than state dependency which progressively corrodes a community's values and vigour.

"ACT pledges its support for the West Coast and will do everything within our powers to overturn this bad decision," Ken Shirley said.

Ends


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