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Foreign sell-off of foreshore and seabed

10 March 2005

Foreign sell-off of foreshore and seabed is underway

A plan to mine North Island west coast ironsand for minerals has revealed the true purpose of the Foreshore and Seabed Act, the Green Party says.

The Energy Ministry is considering an application from a China-based mining company Best Quality of Life Group to mine 3,617 square kilometres of seabed from Taranaki to the Kaipara Harbour.

“The real reason behind the Foreshore and Seabed Act has been finally exposed: to sell off large tracts of the seabed to the highest overseas bidder,” Green Maori Affairs spokesperson Metiria Turei said.

“Only two months after the Act has come into force, the Government is already entertaining an application to mine over 3000 square kilometres of seabed for vast sums of money, shutting out the potential customary rights holders from any say or share.

“Maori knew that the purpose of the Act was to give the Government the right to sell off the seabed to the highest bidder. If the Economic Development Minister and Crown Minerals Group agree to this application, that is exactly what they will be doing. Maori objections to the bill have been proved correct and the promises to protect the coast broken.

“In effect, this is the sale of the seabed to overseas interests, resulting in massive levels of degradation to our precious coastal marine areas, similar to that caused by bottom trawling but on a much larger scale. This was not what the Government promised. All New Zealanders will be horrified at the extent of this application and the environmental damage this mining will cause.

“The application should accordingly be declined immediately.”

Mrs Turei said the mining process might also mean Maori are excluded from wahi tapu.

“There have been no guarantees that areas sacred to Maori will be protected.”

ENDS

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