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World heritage areas should not be open to mining

25 June 2012

World heritage areas should not be open to mining

Our world heritage areas should be entirely off limits to mining and placed in Schedule 4 protection, said the Green Party today.

“Land which is internationally recognised for its landscapes of untouched beauty, and which New Zealanders love and want to protect, is at threat from mining,” said Green Party mining spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.

In its response to Questions for Written Answer by Ms Delahunty, the Government admitted it is undertaking a $1.67 million survey of minerals on the West Coast of New Zealand, including within the Te Wahipounamu South West New Zealand world heritage area. Te Wahipounamu is one of 183 natural heritage properties which the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value.

“Why would the Government spend taxpayer money to survey for minerals within a world heritage area unless the Government was prepared to dig it up?” said Ms Delahunty.

“This Government should put all our world heritage land in Schedule 4 protection so that current and future generations of New Zealanders and tourists can enjoy these precious places instead of surveying it for the potential benefit of big mining interests.”

Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act is a list of our most precious and high value conservation lands which are inaccessible for mining or exploration.

“Facilitating mining in our world heritage areas is not a smart way to grow our economy,” said Ms Delahunty.

“We can protect our ‘100% Pure’ brand valued at $20 billion, by keeping mining interests out of our UNESCO world heritage sites, and preserving the sites for generations to come.”

References:
QWAs:
http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Business/QWA/c/3/4/QWA_04638_2012-4638-2012-Catherine-Delahunty-to-the-Minister-of-Energy.htm;
http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Business/QWA/2/0/d/QWA_04631_2012-4631-2012-Catherine-Delahunty-to-the-Minister-of-Energy.htm

Te Wahipounamu is one of 183 natural heritage properties which the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list

ENDS

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