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Ironsands mining plan smells of a rort

Ironsands mining plan smells of a rort

Independent MP Brendan Horan welcomes the start of hearings where thousands of ordinary Kiwis get to voice their opposition to strip-mining the seabed for ironsand.

“Trans Tasman Resources is 98% foreign-owned and is seeking to mine iron sands from the ocean off Taranaki. At the Environmental Protection Agency hearing opening this morning, just 11 submitters are in favour out of 4,708 submissions in total

“Last week I asked Steven Joyce in Parliament how he could justify allowing a 98% foreign owned company to plunder minerals for a paltry $5 million a year in net royalties. In reality he had, he has, no justification at all

“The project does not make environmental or economic sense. The Government says there may be jobs but Labour Minister Simon Bridges refuses to have any requirement for local labour content, so any job from the project, if it is approved, could go to overseas workers..

“Trans Tasman Resources are going to be taking minerals straight from the seabed. These have accumulated over millions of years. The minerals will be shipped direct to foreign countries without touching New Zealand soil. This will provide little if any benefit for our country. The idea is abhorrent to most New Zealanders.

“Trans Tasman’s business case is great for them, and a disaster for New Zealand. Their own studies show that based on a small 2% royalty rate they estimate paying the Government around $10 million per year (US$8 million.) Yet Steven Joyce in January gave the company a solid gold handout, a ‘research and development’ grant of up to $5 million per year. That is going to cut in half the effective royalties payable.

“And the impact on the environment on the ocean, on the seabed, and on the fisheries will be significant. It is not theoretical, and is demonstrated by the documents on the EPA’s website.

“This proposal has so little benefit for New Zealand that it smells of an old-fashioned rort. I look forward to what is uncovered in the hearings process,” said Brendan Horan.

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