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Celebrations as High Court upholds seabed mining appeal

For Immediate Release \

Immediate release
28 August 2018

Celebrations as High Court upholds seabed mining appeal – KASM and Greenpeace

Kiwis Against Seabed Mining and Greenpeace today heralded the High Court’s decision to uphold their appeal against the Environmental Protection Agency’s granting of a consent to Trans Tasman Resources to mine the seabed in the South Taranaki Bight, hailing it as a “victory for the oceans.”

“This is a victory for the thousands of people who have protested and the 13,000 who made submissions against this awful proposal, a victory for the South Taranaki Bight, the blue whales and the entire New Zealand marine ecosystem,” said Cindy Baxter, Chairperson of Kiwis Against Seabed Mining.

The EPA had granted the company consent to dig up 50 million tonnes of the South Taranaki Bight Seabed – in a 66sqkm area – for 35 years, to get 5,000 tonnes of iron ore a year.

Kiwis Against Seabed Mining and Greenpeace appealed, alongside Ngati Ruanui, Nga Rauru, fishing companies and organisations including Talley’s and Te Ohu Kai Moana, Forest and Bird, and the Taranaki Whanganui Conservation Board. Attached to the decision was a set of 109 conditions, many of which were challenged by the appellants.

The main part of the decision by Justice Churchman focused on what the appellants all argued was “adaptive management” – a practice of essentially “trying it out and seeing what happens, and adapting the conditions accordingly” that, they argued, was illegal under New Zealand law applying to the Exclusive Economic Zone and continental shelf.



The Judge agreed with these arguments, and has sent the decision back to the EPA “for reconsideration, applying the correct legal test in relation to the concept of adaptive management approach.”

“This is a huge win for the oceans, and for people power. Oceans are the life support system of our planet. They regulate the climate and provide the food and oxygen we need to survive. They contain and sustain most of the life on Earth, and they are already in crisis. Seabed mining would further threaten their ability to sustain life, including our own. I certainly hope this will be the last we’ll see of these wannabe miners,” said Russel Norman, Greenpeace NZ Executive Director.

Full list of Appellants:
Kiwis Against Seabed Mining Inc and Greenpeace New Zealand Inc, Te Runanga O Ngati Ruanui, Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society, the Taranaki-Whanganui Conservation Board, Cloudy Bay Clams Ltd, Fisheries Inshore NZ Ltd, , New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen, Southern Inshore Fisheries Management Company, Talley’s Group, Te Ohu Kai Moana.

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