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Ngāti Ruanui: Attorney General’s Seabed Mining Intervention Risks Environmental Disaster

Ngāti Ruanui is shocked that Attorney General David Parker has intervened in their legal battle before the Supreme Court to stop offshore ironsands mining, agreeing with mining company Trans Tasman Resources’ (TTR) interpretation of the EEZ Act.

TTR are appealing the Court of Appeal’s strong decision to decline the application to the Supreme Court, with hearings to be held this month. The Attorney General, who was granted leave to submit evidence, has agreed with a narrow interpretation of Treaty rights and customary law.

“We are gutted that the Attorney General is opposing the ruling of the Court of Appeal, in effect bolstering a mining company that is disregarding Treaty and environment law to push through a consent that risks environmental disaster for Aotearoa,” said Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Ruanui kaiarataki Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.

“This new Government, if true to their stated goal of being transformational and protecting precious marine environments, should not be siding with fossil fuel interests in landmark legal cases.

“TTR’s consent would allow them to mine up to 50 million tonnes of ironsands every year, an act of environmental vandalism that would destroy entire ecosystems and change our coastlines forever.

“By rejecting the rulings of the Court of Appeal, who argued that Treaty rights and the purpose of Act needed to be interpreted in the widest possible way, the Attorney General is seeking to undo a ground-breaking legal precedent that could help tangata whenua and environmental groups defend the marine environment for years to come.

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“While the Attorney General can set out how Parliament intended to develop law and the provide insight on the parliamentary intent, to effectively cherry pick pieces of that intent to help an international mining company, goes against a piece of legislation that is there to protect our precious environment and is doing exactly what parliament intended.

“We expected more from this Government. It’s time to be brave and stand up for our environment and for Treaty rights, instead this intervention undermines them.

“The Court of Appeal made a clear and balanced ruling and we believe the Supreme Court will do the same. The view of the Attorney General will be shown up for what is; an attempt to prop up a dying mining industry set to destroy the environment for pure economic gain,” said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.

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