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Wellington Comes to a ‘Freeze’ Over Coal Mining

Wellington Comes to a ‘Freeze’ Over Coal Mining

Wellington’s popular lunchtime spot, Midland Park, came to a standstill today as Coal Action Network Aotearoa (CANA), Forest & Bird and other environmental groups staged a public “flash freeze”.
About 60 anti-mining supporters simultaneously stood frozen in the busy CBD park for three minutes to tell the Government to “put a freeze on coal mining”.

The demonstration, organised by CANA, drew attention to the environmental, climate and health issues of mining and burning coal, and in particular Bathurst Resources’ plans to turn the Denniston Plateau into the country’s largest open-cast mine on conservation land.
Burning coal is the single greatest contributor to climate change. CANA spokesperson Tim Jones says continuing to mine and burn the world’s coal reserves is “suicidally stupid”. “If we continue to do that, we will ensure that our planet becomes unliveable.”
"The Government and its supporters in the mining industry are planning a massive expansion of coal and lignite mining, including the planned new Denniston mine and Solid Energy's plans for huge new lignite mines and processing plants in Southland.
“If these go ahead, these mines will lead to a blowout in New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions at the very time when our emissions should be sharply reduced,” Tim Jones says.
Forest & Bird Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell says the Denniston Plateau is a rare ecosystem, rich in biodiversity and home to rare, endemic species such as giant land snails. “The reason Forest & Bird is opposing the mine is we’re concerned it could mean the extinction of unique and threatened species on public conservation land where they should be protected,” he says.
Forest & Bird is appealing resource consents through the Environment Court and proposes the establishment of a 5900ha reserve on the publicly-owned land across the plateau and its surrounds.
The freeze took place on the “say no to coal mining” day of the “Aotearoa Is Not For Sale” hikoi, which opposes mining and selling New Zealand’s natural resources, land and public services to private investors. The freeze is supported by 350 Aotearoa, Generation Zero and climate and health council Ora Taiao.

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