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Strong Turn Out Expected For Anti-Mining Protest

Strong Turn Out Expected For Thames Anti-Mining Protest Today

Coromandel Pensinsula residents are taking to the streets today to protest against mining on the peninsula.

20 years ago the residents successfully had mining banned in the environmentally sensitive area but proposed planning law changes would allow the resumption of mining.

Coromandel Watchdog spokesperson Mark Tugendhaft says the local Thames Coromandel District Council has buckled to mining company pressure and without any consultation dropped its opposition to mining.

"At zero hour and in total contradiction to the views of residents they dropped their opposition to an Environment Court appeal by the New Zealand Mining Industry Association. This resulted in the court issuing a ruling which would allow mining in areas of extreme sensitivity and put the whole sustainable future of the area at risk."

Mr Tugendhaft says a strong turn out is expected at today’s protest march at 1 pm through the streets of Thames.

"The council is meeting behind closed doors to decide whether they appeal the Environment Court decision and although they won’t let us in to make the case against mining they will be getting the message loud and clear from outside as to what the people think.

"Their decision not to support the proposed district scheme and its prohibition of mining was made by just four councillors acting as committee, now we expect the full council to bring commonsense and reason to bear and support their own proposed district scheme which keeps the prohibition of mining is place.

"This issue will be fought out during the upcoming local government elections and it is extremely important that the outgoing council does not seal the Coromandel’s fate by refusing to stand up for the prohibition of mining with an appeal to the High Court.

"If the councillors continue to bow to mining company pressure they will carry a badge of shame for the rest of their lives."

Mr Tugendhaft says in the 20 years since mining was prohibited industries incompatible with mining such as tourism, horticulture and aqua-culture have flourished to the extent the Pensinsula has had the highest economic growth rate in the country.

"That a short sighted council would even contemplate turning the clock back and not have learnt the lesson of the past 20 years is inconceivable but we should not under estimate the greed of the mining industry and the pressure they can bring to bear. The Environment Court decision which saw no difference between mining and other activities such as forestry shows just how manipulative they can be and just how easy it is to dupe supposedly intelligent people."

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