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Media statement

8 December 2009

Environmental Defence Society supports Coromandel Watchdog claims about Ministry of Economic Development misleading Environment Court

The Environmental Defence Society has supported a claim by Coromandel Watchdog that government officials misled parties and the Environment Court involved in mediation on the status of mining on the Coromandel Peninsula.

The mediation was facilitated by the Environment Court and followed a successful appeal to the Court of Appeal brought by EDS on behalf of Coromandel Watchdog.

“EDS represented Watchdog at the mediation and I can confirm that at no time was the fact that a review of Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act was underway, was disclosed to the parties by the government representative,” said EDS Chairman Gary Taylor.

“The planning regime that was chosen for Conservation land on the Peninsula was influenced by the fact the parties knew that it was already protected from mining under the Crown Minerals Act.

“The official representing the Crown Minerals Division of the Ministry of Economic Development knew that a review was underway and failed to disclose that fact in spite of having plenty of opportunity to do so.

“Indeed, the context of the negotiations, which were conducted in good faith, in my opinion required him to disclose the review was in train.

“This incident is disturbing. In my opinion it discloses a certain trickiness and a lack of candour that exemplifies the way Crown Minerals Division of MED operates,” said Mr Taylor.

The review is expected to be made public in the New Year and public submissions called for.