EDS reveals that mining on Great Barrier Island is
prohibited under Auckland City Council's district
The Environmental Defence Society says that there's "no point" in opening parts of Great Barrier Island to mining as part of the government's review of Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act.
"Mining on Great Barrier Island - and in fact on all of the islands of the Gulf - is a prohibited activity in Auckland City Council's district plan. That means that a mining company is not able to apply for resource consents to mine," said EDS Chairman Gary Taylor.
"That status reflects the extraordinary values and sensitivity of the Gulf Islands in the minds of the Council and the wider community. This year is the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park - set up to precisely to protect those values.
"To get RMA approval, a mining company would have to introduce a private plan change. That would meet with considerable opposition from thousands of Aucklanders.
"Whilst prospecting is not prohibited, it's hard to see any mining company being prepared to invest when the RMA hurdles would remain.
"I'm reasonably confident that the government is at last considering the broader implications of this review, not just for Great Barrier Island but for the rest of New Zealand.
"They are listening to the upwelling of concern across the country and I've no doubt that sensible and experienced voices - like that of the Minister for the Environment - are now being heard in the caucus and Cabinet.
"I also think more information is coming to light that is helping to change attitudes. For example the argument that there's already a lot of mining in the DOC estate is misleading. In fact most of the concessions on DOC land are for small scale quarrying and sand extraction, not hard rock mining for precious metals.
"Also people are becoming more aware of the ecological and landscape values that are at risk if Schedule 4 was excessively liberalised as some push-back comes from the Department of Conservation.
"The government does appear to be one that listens to the people. Hopefully it will do so on this issue," Gary Taylor concluded.