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Independent report confirms Schedule 4 mining bad

31 May 2010 – Wellington


Forest & Bird media release for immediate use

Independent report confirms Schedule 4 mining bad for economy


Forest & Bird has publicly released reports from an independent economist today that show mining in Schedule 4 conservation areas is bad economics.

Three independent reports analysing the economic function of Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act 1991 were commissioned by Forest & Bird from Geoff Bertram, independent economist at Simon Terry Associates and Senior Associate at the Victoria University of Wellington Institute of Policy Studies.

“The independent research reports confirm what Forest & Bird suspected – that keeping mining out of New Zealand’s core conservation land is best for the economy as well as the environment,” Forest & Bird conservation advocate Quentin Duthie says.

The first report analyses the Government’s $194 billion value for mineral resources in New Zealand, describing this figure as “economically meaningless”. A net valuation for the Schedule 4 areas of debate is determined to be just $100 million, or $36 per voter, instead.

“Breaking open Schedule 4 would only reap a one-off $36 per voter, without taking any indirect or intangible costs into account,” Mr Duthie says. “It’s just not worth it.”

The second report analyses the potential impact of mining in national parks on the tourism sector. Two previous consultants’ surveys of the New Zealand tourism market are drawn on to show that the potential economic damage could be “in the order of 1% of GDP” – equivalent to the entire mining sector’s contribution to GDP.

“The potential economic risks of mining in our core conservation lands are real and sobering,” Mr Duthie says. “Government has a responsibility to assess the economic costs as well as the benefits. In this case it might find any economic gain from mining in Schedule 4 is immediately wiped out by tourism losses even before the environmental and social impacts are considered.”

The third report explains the history and legislation surrounding mining and conservation land. It shows that mining has privileged access to protected areas, but that Schedule 4 is a “social covenant” providing “economic efficiency and regulatory certainty” to mining companies and the public alike.

The reports were part of Forest & Bird’s submission to the Government on the Schedule 4 stocktake, and have also been sent to Government ministers.

Forest & Bird’s submission and the three reports are available at:
http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/saving-our-environment/forest-bird-mining-submissions

ENDS

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