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Environment Not Threatened By Fast-track Bill

The notion that the Fast-track Approvals Bill somehow paves the way to destroy the environment, with vast swathes of the countryside turned into mines, is way off track, says Straterra chief executive, Josie Vidal.

"Let’s be clear about that in an environment of misrepresentation of what mining means. A protest banner does not the truth make," Vidal says.

Today Straterra spoke to the Environment Committee at Parliament on its written submissionon the bill.

"Straterra submits that this bill is not about mining or the environment, it’s about mining and the environment," Vidal says.

"It is frustrating that some submitters and commentators are trying to make a case that mining projects do not deserve to be on the fast-track. There are no grounds whatsoever to discriminate mining from other development projects. In fact, some of those other projects are heavily reliant on mined minerals.

"All projects should be included on their merits and the bill allows for this.

"In a country sadly lacking in productivity, mining is one of the most productive sectors, which translates into high wages which are spent in local communities.

"It is nonsense to talk about all the money leaving the country. What does cause investment and people to leave the country is when there are no jobs, poor policy settings, and a weak economy.

"The mining sector supports New Zealand’s high environmental standards and does not want to use this bill to undermine these. Miners currently must meet strict conditions to get approvals and this is replicated in the bill. It is the decision-making process being sped up, not the way mining companies manage the environment.

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"There is a lot of misinformation about the bill opening up mining on conservation land. The bill does not change the status quo and we are not looking for it to do so.

"No one plans to mine on New Zealand’s national parks or other protected areas of the conservation estate and we are not asking for a law change that would allow that.

"There will be no energy transition without mined minerals. Much of our daily life relies on mined minerals. New Zealand needs to be part of the global supply chain to source those minerals and we need to ensure we do that in a competitive and responsible manner.

"Mining will be a contributor to an export-led economic recovery and we look forward to this bill further enabling that."

Straterra is the industry association representing New Zealand’s minerals and mining sector.

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