Select Committee Fails Coromandel Petitioners
Coromandel Watchdog of Hauraki say the Select Committee has failed the Coromandel; the Committee has, nearly two years after receiving their petition, decided not to support the extension of Schedule 4 to include the Southern Coromandel. The extension would protect the entire Coromandel Range (and Coromandel Ecological Region) from industrial mining, where now that protection stops at State Highway 25 Kopu Hikuai Road.
While the group is still reviewing the reasoning behind the decision, there are a number of aspects that are disappointing, as well as the result. "It seems that Labour has not supported this, despite having it as a policy in their manifesto for more than 10 years and Minister David Parker restated that support for the move publicly last year," says Augusta Macassey-Pickard, spokesperson.
The primary reason not to support the petition relates to Te Tiriti o Waitangi; CWoH had made it clear in the supporting submissions to the Committee that any boundary changes to Schedule 4 must follow a Crown negotiation with Hauraki tangata whenua. However, little specifics are given in the decision as to what the Committee refers to, or if the Committee had input from tangata whenua.
"There was submissions made by Oceana Gold and other mining companies that either are, or are intending to, operate within that area as well as from DOC, MBIE and the National Party, but it appears that there was no specific support from Labour, despite the longstanding policy they have had on it, and the commitments they made when the petition was presented on the steps of Parliament (just before the election in 2017), which is extremely frustrating."
As the first Mining Permit application on the Coromandel for many years has been lodged over more than 5000ha of high value conservation land that is home to a number of threatened species, CWoH is very concerned that gold mining may establish in the area, setting worrying precedent.
"We have deep concerns, about mining activities here, the precedents that would be set for all the rest of the Coromandel, and how desperately vulnerable this environment, these species are to industrial mining."
The group has indicated that they will comment further once they have had time to fully review the decision.