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Fast-track Won’t Mean Easy Ride For Seabed Miners - Greenpeace

Greenpeace says it’s shocking that Chris Bishop has invited the wannabe seabed miners Trans-Tasman Resources to make an application to mine the South Taranaki Bight seabed using the government’s fast-track process.

If it goes ahead, the fast-track approval process will enable TTR to proceed with its destructive seabed mining project despite repeated legal defeats and the opposition of Ngāti Ruanui, environment groups, scientists, fishing companies and the local council.

Greenpeace spokesperson Juressa Lee (Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi, Rarotonga) says: "This is a perverse process which enables a project already rejected by the Supreme Court, slated by marine experts and opposed by mana whenua to be given the green light to pollute and destroy the precious oceans off the coast of Aotearoa."

"But if TTR thinks that this fast-track invitation means they will have an easy ride, they better think again. Just as the oil industry faced a decade of relentless resistance from iwi, environmental groups and people all over Aotearoa, so too will these wannabe seabed miners."

"Ngāti Ruanui, Kiwis Against Seabed Mining and Greenpeace have already faced down Trans-Tasman Resources for a decade, and the resistance has only grown stronger."

"This invitation from the Luxon Government confirms suspicions that TTR was banking on the government’s Fast Track Approvals Bill when it gave up on the more transparent pathway via the Environmental Protection Authority, which would have required them to demonstrate more diligence and care for the environment and wildlife than they’ve ever shown they were capable of," says Lee.

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"Chris Bishop’s unseemly haste to clear the way for Trans Tasman Resources to mine the seabed, shows the Luxon Government is willing to sacrifice environmental protections, local people’s concerns and even Supreme Court decisions on the altar of short-term profits for overseas mining execs."

TTR has spent more than 10 years trying to get the go-ahead to mine 50 million tonnes of seabed in a 66 square kilometre area in the South Taranaki Bight every year for 35 years to access five million tonnes of iron ore and dump the rest back into the ocean.

If allowed to go ahead, seabed mining would have catastrophic consequences for precious marine life in the South Taranaki Bight, such as the pygmy blue whale and the critically endangered Māui dolphin.

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