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Landslide Election Result against Toxic Mining

Landslide Election Result against Toxic Mining

Kerikeri, 18 October, 2013 - Maori and conservation voices say the outcome of the local body elections shows a landslide of votes against Wayne Brown and his support for mineral exploration and toxic mining, with more changes needed to stop public money being used to promote the region as a mining destination.

“The landslide defeat of Wayne Brown as Far North district Mayor can partly be viewed as a protest vote against his personal toxic mining aspirations for the region,” said Bryce Smith, for Te Wakameninga o nga hapū Ngapuhi. “The outcome should send a very clear message to the Government and corporations interested in toxic mining and deep sea oil drilling: You’re not welcome. This is not the future we want and we won’t have it forced on us”.

“It’s appropriate now for the Northland Regional Council to disestablish the Explore Northland Minerals Group, an arm of Northland Inc”, says Forest and Bird Far North branch Chairperson Dean Baigent-Mercer. “Wayne Brown has been Chair of this group which has been used as a publicly funded platform to promote mining. The public money spent in Wayne Brown’s roles to promote mining has been deeply unpopular and controversial”.

Wayne Brown’s public roles saw him paid as Far North Mayor, as Chair of the Explore Northland Minerals Group of Northland Inc and for two trips to mining world tradeshows in Canada to promote mining in Northland.

Wayne Brown’s personal business interests saw a new mineral exploration company, Tai Tokerau Minerals Ltd, created and then granted two mineral exploration permits in the Whangaroa catchment in June. But during the recent election campaign two more areas in Whangaroa were revealed to have been applied for. The Whangaroa catchment contains 15-20% of gold deposits in Northland. However to extract this would create toxic waste that would need to be contained in a flood prone area. Conservatively 18 tonnes of toxic waste is created to make one gold ring. (Conversion of US 20 short tons to metric = 18.14 tonnes.)

“We have a big challenge ahead to clean up the waterways of the north without adding the possibility toxic waste into the mix”, said Bryce Smith.” If mining companies are interested in Northland, they can pay for all their work themselves. We need to protect what’s most important to us. We need to build on Northland’s advantage of being GE-free and also be proudly deep sea oil free and toxic mining free too”.

In late 2011, an aerial magnetic survey for minerals costing $2 million of public money was carried out over nearly all land, private, public and land under Treaty claim between Wellsford and Cape Reinga. Landowners did not consent to this mineral exploration and the information was used to market Northland as a mining destination to corporations overseas.

ENDS

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