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Open-cast coal won’t make us richer

3 September 2011

Open-cast coal won’t make us richer

The Government wants to expand open-cast coal mining on the conservation estate against the wishes of New Zealanders, said the Green Party today.

On the Nation Saturday morning, Acting Minister of Energy and Resources Hekia Parata wouldn’t rule out open-cast coal mining at Denniston on the West Coast, despite environmental concerns.

Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said that New Zealanders love the precious places that have been set aside for conservation, and that his party wanted to protect it from open cast coal mining.

“The sudden about-face of the Government to protect Schedule 4 from mining is an attempt to hoodwink New Zealanders. Their real agenda is to ramp up exploration and mining on the 60 percent of the conservation estate that is not protected by Schedule 4,” said Dr Norman.

“Even worse, the Government is embracing open-cast coal mining, just months after NASA director James Hansen told this country that the world, and New Zealand, cannot afford to burn any more coal.

“The Government would have us believe that we have to trade off a healthy climate and our precious lands to be richer.

“They are wrong. We cannot get long term economic prosperity by destroying our environment.

“The Government’s fossil fuel based energy strategy is a sign they are stuck in the 19th century. They will let a few overseas mining and drilling companies make a quick buck, at the expense of our children and grandchildren.

“It is concerning that the Acting Minister doesn’t even know how much they are willing to sell our priceless conservation land and shores for – she can’t say how much of the value New Zealanders will see.

“We can have a clean, green economy that delivers for all New Zealanders. We need an energy strategy that looks forward, reduces our dependence on fossil fuels, and creates real wealth,” said Dr Norman.

The Green Party is developing a plan to create thousands of Green jobs, and details will be released later this month.


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