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All national parks now protected from mining

Hon Steve Chadwick
Minister of Conservation

9 October 2008 Media Statement
All national parks now protected from mining

All national parks will now be protected from mining, Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick announced today.

“The Labour-led government is updating the law to extend protection to Kahurangi and Rakiura national parks, as well as several additions to other national parks, 24 marine reserves, two wilderness areas and three reserves,” Steve Chadwick said.

“While the primary reason for these changes is to protect our unique natural heritage, this update will also provide local communities and the minerals industry with certainty that mining activities cannot take place in these areas.”

The list of public conservation areas for which mining access is restricted is contained in Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act 1991, which was added to the Act in 1997.

Schedule 4 currently only applies to public conservation areas that existed in 1991, but can be added to by the joint recommendation of the Ministers of Energy and Conservation.

“The schedule will now be consistent with the primary purpose of the additional areas and their management plans.

“Since consultation began on these additions, the government has created six further marine reserves and a number of other protected areas. We will soon begin consultation on whether these new areas should also be added to Schedule 4.

“At the same time, we intend to consult on a proposal to simplify the application of Schedule 4 by making it ‘opt out’ rather than ‘opt in’. This would mean that the schedule would automatically apply to generic protected categories, such as national parks and marine reserves, unless a particular area is specifically excluded,” Steve Chadwick said.

The changes are gazetted today and come into effect in 28 days time.

List of additional areas and further information attached.

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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

What are the restrictions imposed by Schedule 4?
Listing an area on Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act means that the Minister of Conservation is not allowed to grant mining access to that area, except for minimum impact activities.

What do these restrictions do then?
The normal operation of the Crown Minerals Act provides that the Minister of Conservation can prevent access for inappropriate mining in protected areas, but it does not provide the community or the minerals industry with certainty about the Minister’s decisions. Also, there is no provision for public consultation and considerable discretion is left to the Minister. The Schedule 4 restrictions provide certainty that mining activities cannot take place in the listed areas.

Does Schedule 4 apply to pounamu?
Not to pounamu that lies within the rohe of Ngai Tahu as that pounamu belongs to Ngai Tahu and is not a Crown owned mineral.

Have all areas within national parks now been added to Schedule 4?
Effectively yes – 99.9% of national park land is now within Schedule 4. There are small pockets of land from minor boundary changes to national parks that have not been included, in order to simplify the consultation and gazettal process required for additions to the schedule.

Is there any loss of existing mining access and rights?
No existing mining activities are affected by the new additions to Schedule 4.

Some existing prospecting and exploration activities extend across parts of the areas involved, and in some cases access has been granted by the Minister of Conservation. That does not give any legal expectation that access would be granted for mining.

Underground mining in national parks and other land areas may still be possible if the mine entrances can be located outside the park/area boundaries and surface effects are minimal. Mine ventilation shafts and emergency exits are allowable within these restrictions.

For small marine reserves, potential oil and gas resources beneath the seabed can be readily accessed from outside the reserves through directional drilling methods.

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List of areas being added to Schedule 4

Marine Reserves
Kapiti Marine Reserve Wellington
• Tuhua (Mayor Island) Marine Reserve Bay of Plenty
• Whanganui-A-Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve Coromandel
• Long Island-Kokomohua Marine Reserve Marlborough Sounds
• Piopiotahi (Milford Sound) Marine Reserve Fiordland
• Te Awaatu Channel (The Gut) Marine Reserve Fiordland
• Tonga Island Marine Reserve Nelson
• Westhaven (Te Tai Tapu) Marine Reserve Nelson
• Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve Auckland
• Motu Manawa-Pollen Island Marine Reserve Auckland
• Te Angiangi Marine Reserve Hawkes Bay
• Pohatu Marine Reserve Akaroa
• Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve East Coast
• Auckland Islands–Motu Maha Marine Reserve Sub-Antarctics
• Ulva Island (Te Wharawhara) Marine Reserve Stewart Island
• Te Hapua (Sutherland Sound) Marine Reserve Fiordland
• Hawea (Clio Rocks) Marine Reserve Fiordland
• Kahukura (Gold Arm) Marine Reserve Fiordland
• Kutu Parera (Gaer Arm) Marine Reserve Fiordland
• Taipari Roa (Elizabeth Island) Marine Reserve Fiordland
• Moana Uta (Wet Jacket Arm) Marine Reserve Fiordland
• Taumoana (Five Finger Peninsula) Marine Reserve Fiordland
• Te Tapuwae o Hua (Long Sound) Marine Reserve Fiordland
• Te Matuku Marine Reserve Auckland

Land Areas
Arthur’s Pass National Park additions Canterbury
• Kahurangi National Park Northwest Nelson
• Kahurangi National Park addition Northwest Nelson
• Paparoa National Park western additions West Coast
• Paparoa National Park eastern additions West Coast
• Rakiura National Park Stewart Island
• Westland National Park additions West Coast
• Fiordland National Park addition (Waitutu Forest) Fiordland
• Adams Wilderness Area West Coast
• Paparoa Wilderness Area West Coast
• Whatipu Scientific Reserve Auckland
• Lake Tekapo Scientific Reserve South Canterbury
• Tuku Nature Reserve (Chatham Islands) Chatham Islands


ENDS

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