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Personal viewpoint has no place in OIO decision-making

The EMA has joined with Hauraki District Council Mayor, John Tregidga, in expressing its dismay about the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) decision to block Waihi mining company OceanaGold’s application to purchase nearby farmland to expand its operation.

EMA Chief Executive Brett O’Riley is disappointed that an individual Government Minister’s philosophical point of view has the ability to cloud good decision-making describing it as "drive-by policy making, discrediting the government and public sector in its approach, and establishing a disturbing precedent."

"Oceana Gold’s Project Quattro at the Waihi Mine could extend employment for the site’s 360 works and contractors by nine years - how is there any question that there are not substantial, sustainable economic and social benefits in this for Waihi and our region?"

Mr O’Riley says the fact that the decision on the application was split between Minister Eugenie Sage and Minister David Clark highlights the need for a more tightly defined framework for the OIO, in which personal and ideological beliefs are taken out of the equation.

He says, "This decision is a clear disincentive to business investment, which is critical to getting the infrastructure we need for the benefit of our region.

"These well-paid workers have children at the local school, pay rates to support the development and maintenance of local infrastructure, and spend their discretionary income locally - that is giving our regions a sustainable future."

The EMA believes the benefits of granting the expansion, with appropriate emissions controls, would provide exponential, long-term benefits to Waihi that far outweigh winding down the operation and remediating the site.

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