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Seabed Mining Application Rejected, Moratorium Necessary Next Step

The Supreme Court decision to decline an application by Trans-Tasman Resources will help protect the seabed, marine mammals, fish and other marine life off the South Taranaki coast from seabed mining.

“The Green Party is delighted with the Supreme Court decision. Instead of relying on iwi and hapū, environmental and community organisations to take legal action to defend and protect our oceans from seabed mining, the Government should now act immediately to put in place a moratorium on all seabed mining,” Green Party oceans spokesperson Eugenie Sage said today.

“Congratulations to Kiwis Against Seabed Mining, Forest and Bird, the Taranaki Whanganui Conservation Board, Ngāti Ruanui and so many others who put their heart and soul into the Supreme Court case and earlier case to protect our oceans from the destructive impacts of seabed mining.

“It is hugely significant that the Supreme Court has unanimously recognised tikanga as part of the law needing to be taken into account, and we welcome the clarity of the position on customary rights and kaitiakitanga.”

The Supreme Court rejected an attempt by Trans-Tasman Resources to overturn a decision quashing consents granted to mine millions of tonnes of ironsands off the coast of South Taranaki. Two previous appeals, at the High Court and Court of Appeal, had also failed.

“The Supreme Court decision is a victory for our oceans, and for iwi, hapū, and environmental organisations and coastal communities. The decision makes it clear that seabed mining in the face of uncertain effects is not compatible with environmental protection and upholding Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

“The South Taranaki Bight is home to New Zealand’s own population of nationally critical or endangered species such as Bryde’s whales, māui and Hector’s dolphins and the southern right whale. Trans-Tasman Resources’ application was a potential threat to this precious natural taonga, and as the Court noted the margins for these seabirds and marine mammals are extremely fine.”

“Now it has been rejected, we need broader action from the Government to protect other parts of New Zealand that could otherwise be damaged by other seabed mining exploration permits held by other companies”

“Communities shouldn’t be left to respond to every application made to destroy or degrade their local environment. It’s time to implement a moratorium and stop this harmful practice for good in Aotearoa.”

The Green Party supports the introduction of a member’s bill by Debbie Ngarewa Packer to ban seabed mining.

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