We are welcoming the new Green Party campaign to get a Government commitment to no new mines on Department of Conservation land. It’s great to have at least one Party in Parliament stand up for the protection of biodiversity and challenge the Labour Government to honour the promise they made in 2017 to ban new mines on DOC land.
We welcome the campaign and its focus on all public conservation land, and particularly the recognition of the huge threat posed by Oceana Gold who are planning an underground mine beneath the forest at Wharekirauponga, in the habitat of several threatened species including the internationally significant Archeys frog.
The threat is not just mining Wharekirauponga but the precedent this would set which will affect conservation areas throughout the Hauraki/ Coromandel. It is heartening to see Eugenie Sage as a former Conservation Minister call for the Government to implement the mining ban promise.
The Government’s attempt to divert attention from the failure to live up to the promise by creating a review of stewardship land (which is part of the DOC estate) has left all of the DOC/PCL open to mining activity, including places like Wharekirauponga, which are not designated stewardship . Wharekirauponga has been designated an area of national significance but is under immediate and direct threat from mining now.
Instead of local communities having to find the resources to fight a huge multinational gold company, Watchdog are calling for an immediate moratorium on new mining activity while the stewardship review drags on. Hopefully the Greens campaign will help the public realise the huge threat to biodiversity from mining conservation land right now. Most people think that mining conservation land doesn’t happen here now – and it shouldn’t, but it is – despite the 2017 promise.
Oceana Gold are about to lodge consents to undermine Wharekirauponga so now is the time for the Government to step up and honour their promise to protect rare species and precious forests.