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

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Shifting Goalposts: New 2030 Emissions Target Is Weaker - Expert

Minister Tim Groser said the new climate change target is a significant increase on the current target of 5 percent below 1990 emissions levels by 2020... the 2030 target gives New Zealand “10 extra years to produce very little extra reduction”. More>>

ALSO:

Education: Government Continues To Fail Students With Special Needs

Children with special needs are continuing to miss out on inclusive education because of an under-resourced and underfunded system, says NZEI Te Riu Roa President Louise Green. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Where Greece Goes From Here

As one candid British commentator tried to come to grips with why his confident prediction of a “Yes” vote in Greece has failed so resoundingly, he said that he’d made that prediction from his own viewpoint – as someone with savings to protect. But most Greek people, he suddenly realised, didn’t have that concern anymore after five years of austerity. Duh. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Cabinet Presser: EQC Reform, Greece & Surplus Stimulation

Prime Minister John key discussed proposals for reform of the EQC act and the Greek economic crisis at a press conference in Wellington. More>>

ALSO:

GCSB/NZSIS: Intelligence And Security Reviewers Seek Public’s Views

“We are seeking public submissions to help us determine what issues to focus on during the review,” says Sir Michael Cullen. “We want to hear your views on what the GCSB and NZSIS should be doing to protect New Zealand and how they should do it.” More>>

Education: Schools Funded To Trial Innovative Approaches

Education Minister Hekia Parata has announced the successful applicants for a new $10 million fund to encourage innovative teaching practices. “I’m delighted with the quality of the 39 projects that have won funding in the first round of the Teacher-led Innovation Fund worth a total of about $2.6 million,” says Ms Parata. More>>

ALSO:

Generation Zero: Skypath Granted Resource Consent

Generation Zero is delighted and relieved that the ‘Skypath’ walking and cycling addition to the Harbour Bridge has been granted resource consent. More>>

ALSO:

Housing: Two New Auckland Special Housing Areas

Two new greenfield Special Housing Areas (SHAs) that will provide up to 1800 new homes in Auckland have been announced today by Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith and Mayor Len Brown. More>>

ALSO:

Royals: The Prince Of Wales And Duchess Of Cornwall To Visit

Prime Minister John Key welcomes today’s announcement that the Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will visit New Zealand in November. This will be the second joint visit for Their Royal Highnesses to New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

Tracey Martin Replaced: Ron Mark Is New New Zealand First Deputy Leader

Clayton Mitchell was the successful candidate for the Associate Whip position. Winston Peters was re-elected as Leader by the Caucus. Ron Mark was elected as the Deputy Leader with effect from 10am, Friday, 3rd July. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
More RSS  RSS
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news