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Mining threat to Hector's Dolphins

18 October 2005

Public must have a say on mining threat to Hector's Dolphins

It is outrageous that a multinational is trying to block public submissions on its West Coast seabed mining plan, Green Party Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

Seafield Resources, part of the South African De Beers diamond empire, has told the West Coast Regional Council that its seabed gold mining plan will have little impact, so no direct public input is required. Five New Zealand organisations - the Conservation Department, Maritime NZ, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, Te Runanga o Ngati Waewae and Te Runanga o Makaawhio - are identified as being affected by the proposal and have given their approval.

"To screw a sample out of the seabed, they want to shaft the submission process," Mrs Turei says.

"Seafield is trying to avoid scrutiny and accountability for their rape and pillage of our seabed and clearly don't give a damn they will further endanger the iconic Hector's Dolphins.

"I call on the West Coast Regional Council to reject this corporation's attempt to ride rough shod over the resource consent process and instead allow the public to make submissions, as is their democratic right.

"But the Department of Conservation, Maritime NZ, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, Te Runanga o Ngati Waewae and Te Runanga o Makaawhio must be held to account for smoothing the way for this attempt to lock the public out of the decisionmaking on this very bad idea. They should be ashamed of themselves for naively acquiescing to the plans of this rapacious multinational and for letting down the people and environment of the West Coast.

"This is exactly what I warned would happen when I campaigned against this plan on the West Coast a couple of months ago. This unaccountable company doesn't care what it does to New Zealand's precious marine environment and now it also wants to block New Zealanders having a say in what happens in our own waters.

"Crown Minerals also deserve to be condemned for their failure to properly hold this company to account. Whoever are appointed as the new Crown Minerals and DOC ministers must direct their departments to withdraw the support that is being used as an excuse to block public submissions," Mrs Turei says.

ENDS

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