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Challenge to Minister: Launch of Open Letter

Shows approx 50 people holding banner Nio Mining Pure New Zealand outside with bush background

Conservation Minister, Willow Jean Prime, (now elevated to Cabinet) must demand Cabinet act fast on the Labour Govt promise to ban mining in conservation land!

After 5 years in Government, all conservation land remains vulnerable with more than 70 mining activity consents allowed since the 2017 promise of a ban. The northern Hauraki/Coromandel area only has protection from open cast mining, but not from large scale underground minjng of its conservation lands.

All of this is despite the Labour Government making  promises and announcing policies  to protect the Hauraki / Coromandel since 2014. The 2017 promise in the Speech from the Throne  should be law by now and protection of all  conservation land nationwide should be well established.

The delays and excuses are unacceptable, and the Minister must prioritise passing the proposed legislation to ban  new mining activity ban before the House rises for the election.

Today we are launching an Open Letter to remind the Government of their commitment and to ensure this includes banning new mining activity in or under the conservation land. Now that it seems the Government is working on the Bill, it is important to be clear on what is being protected.

We are not only demanding that they extend the protections we already have through Schedule 4 to include underground, but also that they move to urgently protect all conservation land in the country from mining activity. And for clarity, we would like that to include in, on or under conservation land.

The petition also calls for Government to negotiate exclusion clauses to protect the Te Tiriti rights of tangata whenua. This is vital as rights to taonga such as pounamu must be protected. 

We keep hearing about the climate crisis, the biodiversity crisis, and yet our conservation land, that last bastion of biodiversity and our biggest climate sink, remains totally vulnerable to the destruction that is mining – and that is just not good enough.

We all know that the Schedule 4 protection in the Crown Minerals Act was meant to keep mining out of those areas, but the language could be interpreted that underground mining is ok. And it is not. Underground mining has significant impacts on the environment also, including on fresh water resources, and must be included in any ban. And given how long ago, and how much was promised, we believe that the Government must do this now, before the election.

Please join our challenge here