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Black sand mining an election issue

27 May 2005

Black sand mining an election issue in coastal communities

Plans to mine black sand from the seabed off the North Island haven't gone away and the issue will be a live one in the affected coastal communities during the coming election campaign, says Green MP Metiria Turei.

The Greens' Associate Environment Spokesperson was commenting after attending an anti-mining meeting in Raglan last night. Black Sands Mining's application, covering 3000km2 of seabed between the Kaipara and Taranaki, was knocked back by Crown Minerals last month because of its lack of technical detail, but the company is expected to reapply soon.

"The Greens' opposition to this sand mining proposal goes to the core of our values," said Mrs Turei.

"This proposal is ecologically unwise and socially irresponsible and there is little sign so far that it will be subject to appropriate decision making. Just the threat to the critically endangered Maui dolphins alone makes this scheme unacceptable.

"I see the Greens' role as being to back up local communities' opposition by helping to build a nationwide campaign. Just yesterday I had calls from people in Nelson and Piha concerned about this appalling idea.

"In particular we need Aucklanders to wake up to the threat to their west coast beaches. But while the big city is an important target for the campaign, I'll be back for further meetings in Raglan," said Mrs Turei.

Raglan Greens Spokesperson Sean Reid said local campaigners were pleased that Dunedin-based Turei had demonstrated her concern by visiting the town for the second time in as many months.

"A month ago, it was Metiria's comment about the value of influencing MPs that inspired a number of those who lobbied Port Waikato National MP, Dr Paul Hutchison, on the issue," said Mr Reid.

"That resulted in him organising last night's meeting, which packed about 185 into Raglan Town Hall. For a town of 2500, that's a remarkable turn out."

Mr Reid said that anyone wanting to assist on the sand mining issue could contact him on sean@free.net.nz or (07) 825 0122.

ENDS

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