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Call For Moratorium On New Mines On Conservation Land After Labour Fails To Fulfil Its Promise

The Government has failed to support a Bill which would have ended new mines on conservation land. Forest & Bird says that is a broken promise which will threaten native species and allow further extraction of coal in the middle of a climate emergency.

“Forest & Bird is now calling on the Government to place an immediate moratorium on new mines on public conservation land,” says Chief Executive, Nicola Toki.

“A moratorium would give Labour the breathing room they say they need to get the policy ducks in a row, while ensuring that public conservation land is protected in the midst of a climate and biodiversity crisis.”

In her speech to the Green Party’s Crown Minerals (Prohibition of Mining) Amendment Bill last night, Labour MP Angela Roberts announced that Labour will not support it. Among the reasons given was needing more time to reclassify stewardship land, including meaningfully engaging with iwi.

“New Zealanders have been waiting sixyears for the Government to fulfil Dame Jacinda Ardern’s 2017 promise to end new mines on conservation land. For Labour to claim that it’s too soon to implement this Bill, is extremely disappointing,” Ms Toki says.

“Since 2017, a total of78 mining access arrangements on conservation landhave been granted, with more exploration and prospecting permits covering over 150,000 ha of conservation land. It is time that Labour shows how, to quote Minister Roberts, ‘completely committed to protecting our conservation land’ they are, by actually protecting it.”

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Since the Green Party Bill was drawn from the ballot box in August 2022, Forest & Bird has staged protests across Aotearoa New Zealand, calling on Labour to honour their promise and reminding New Zealanders of the precious wild places and wildlife threatened by destructive mining.

“We cannot afford to lose more of our native forests, which are valuable carbon sinks. We especially can’t afford to lose them by digging up and burning more coal.”

“We are going to continue campaigning to end mining on public conservation land until the campaign is won,”says Ms Toki.

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