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Court of Appeal Decision Will Affect All Our Futures


Saving the ocean’s environment continues tomorrow as Ngati Ruanui Iwi takes on Trans-Tasman Resources (TTR) who wish to mine iron sand off the South Taranaki Bight in the Tasman Sea in what has been a five-year battle.

The Seabed mining application originally granted by the Environmental Protection Authority but then declined by the High Court now moves on to the Court of Appeal in Wellington next week as all parties argue key points of law under the EEZ Act (Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012).

Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, kaiarataki of Ngati Ruanui, says, “this is a significant step; we are really getting down to the finer points of the law and determining how this new legislation for controlling what happens in our oceans is put to the test”.

“We have been at the forefront this battle since 2014 seeing off the original application and now 5 years later in the Court of Appeal. Ngati Ruanui is driven by the need to protect our environment and the future for our tamariki. The risk of massive coastal pollution and a coastal way of life changed for ever must be stopped. We are the test case, but we know we are fighting for everyone who wants to preserve and protect our oceans,” says Debbie.

Ngati Ruanui describes the last five years like a David and Goliath battle, but never giving up and never compromising values that are right not just for Maori but the whole community.

After five years of research, expert opinion and numerous suggested conditions no one can say for certain that the coast line from Taranaki to Wellington will not be affected in some way by the vast plumes of sediments that will be created by TTR and their proposed mining activities under the sea.

“There is nothing to compare this operation to in the whole world and to use us and our precious ocean environment as an experiment is just wrong! We have called upon the Prime Minister to stop this and appealed to the Green Party to honour the promises they made at the election,” says Debbie.

In a way Ngati Ruanui believes they are just at the beginning because if it cannot stop this giant ocean polluter there will be many more new applications around the coastal waters of New Zealand; they are all just waiting.

Ngati Ruanui will be strongly supported by descendants at the Court of Appeal who have been on the journey of protection every step of the way.

We do have the weight of the future on us says Debbie, but we will never give up for what is right.

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