Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Minister’s OK to mine Denniston Plateau disaster for nature


Minister’s OK to mine Denniston Plateau disaster for nature

Forest & Bird is devastated that Conservation Minister Nick Smith has today opened the door for an Australian company to mine ecologically significant conservation land on Denniston Plateau.

Forest & Bird Top of the South Field Officer Debs Martin is stunned by the decision because Denniston Plateau is on conservation land, which means it can only be used for conservation.

“What makes the Minister’s decision all the more baffling is the conservation values of the plateau and where the mine would go are absolutely extraordinary.

“The plateau is home to an array of specialised wildlife, including critically endangered plants, rare lizard species and the great spotted kiwi. And this mine tears right at the heart of the most important area of the plateau.” Debs Martin says.

Dr Smith has granted the mining company access arrangements, which gives permission for the open-cast coal mine to go ahead. However, the mining company still needs resource consent, which due to a Forest & Bird appeal is currently before the Environment Court.

Forest & Bird believes the decision is about politics, not conservation. The law prevents the Conservation Minister from taking economic considerations into account when considering access arrangements. “Everyone – the Environment Court, DOC, external ecologists – agrees that whole ecosystems will be lost if the mine goes ahead. The Minister of Conservation is effectively signing the death warrants of native animals,” Debs Martin says.

“The Environment Court stressed that the case for the mine was ‘finely balanced’ under the RMA. If you take the economic benefits out of the equation, then the logical conclusion is that the Minister can only say no when he has to make an access decision under the Conservation Act.”

The company’s offer to inject $22 million into the Heaphy area in return for destroying the plateau is poor compensation. “DOC has undertaken predator control in the Heaphy area for the last 19 years, and had signalled its intent for further predator control, with or without funding from the mining company. And the Heaphy isn’t even in the same area. Predator control there will do nothing to preserve the internationally unique biodiversity that will be destroyed on the plateau.”

Forest & Bird also questions the timing of the announcement. The Environment Court is yet to give a final ruling on the mine and two further cases are before the courts that could affect its final decision. “The Minister is getting ahead of himself. There may not be a need for a decision as the Environment Court may still stop the mine from going ahead,” Debs Martin says.

“But by making a decision before law changes come into effect tomorrow, he’s avoiding having to open the issue to public consultation, something the government promised at the end of the Schedule 4 mining debate in 2010.

“It’s exactly why Forest & Bird is concerned about the cuts to DOC and its new reliance on corporate funding. Predator control in exchange for mining is the type of deal we will see in the future where money thrown in one direction will allow companies to bulldoze another, and communities are completely shut out of discussions,” Debs Martin says.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Drone Strikes And Judith Collins‘ Last Stand

The news that a New Zealand citizen was killed last November in a US drone attack in Yemen brings the drones controversy closer to home.

To the US, drones are a legitimate response to the threat posed by the al Qaeda organisation and its franchisees... To the US, the drones carry the added advantage of not putting US troops at risk on the ground, and minimises the need for putting them in large numbers in bases in the countries concerned, always a politically sensitive point.

The counter-argument, well articulated by security analyst Paul Buchanan on RNZ this morning, is that this particular drone attack can be said to amount to an extra-judicial execution of a New Zealand citizen by one of our military allies, in circumstances where the person concerned posed no threat to New Zealand’s domestic security. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Policies: Labour’s Economic Upgrade For Manufacturing

Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today announced his Economic Upgrade for the manufacturing sector – a plan that will create better jobs and higher wages. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Life And ACC Work Of Sir Owen Woodhouse

With the death of Sir Owen Woodhouse, the founding father of the Accident Compensation Scheme, New Zealand has lost one of the titans of its post-war social policy. More>>

ALSO:

Bad Transnationals: Rio Tinto Wins 2013 Roger Award

It won the 2011 Roger Award and was runner up in 2012, 2009 and 08. One 2013 nomination said simply and in its entirety: “Blackmailing country”... More>>

ALSO:

Select Committees: Tobacco Plain Packaging Hearings

The Stroke Foundation is today backing the Cancer Society and Smokefree Coalition who are making oral submissions to the Health Select Committee in support of proposed legislation to remove of all branding from tobacco products. More>>

ALSO:

Milk: Oravida Asked For Cabinet Help

New evidence released by New Zealand First today reveals Justice Minister Judith Collins used her position to manipulate the Government to help her husband’s company, Oravida, after the Fonterra botulism scare, says New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters. More>>

ALSO:

With Conditions: Ruataniwha Consents Approved In Draft Decision

The Tukituki Catchment Proposal Board of Inquiry has granted 17 resource consents relating to the $265 million Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme in a draft decision that would open more of the Hawke’s Bay to irrigation. More>>

ALSO:

Fast Lanes, Campervans: Labour 'Making The Holidays Easier For Kiwi Drivers'

The next Labour Government will make the holidays easier and journeys quicker for Kiwi families driving on the roads, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Royalty And Its Tourism Spin-Offs

Ultimately the Queen’s longevity has been one of her most significant accomplishments. A transition to Prince Charles while the monarchy was in the pits of public esteem in the mid to late 1990s would have been disastrous for the Royal Firm. Far more congenial representatives have now emerged... More>>

ALSO:

Privacy (Again): ACC Demands Excessive Privacy Waivers

Labour: “This is just another example of ACC under National deliberately acting to deny treatment and compensation... Those who did fill in the form have effectively been victims of yet another ACC privacy breach. This time Judith Collins knew it was happening..." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news