Judicial Review of Ministers for Mining Decision

Coromandel Watchdog files Judicial Review of Ministers for Mining Decision.

The community group Coromandel Watchdog of Hauraki is taking Government Minister David Parker and Grant Robertson to Judicial Review for their decision to allow Oceana Gold to buy a block of farm land at Waihi for a new toxic mine waste dump. The Oceana Gold application to purchase the land under Overseas Investment rules was first declined by Minister of Lands Information, Eugenie Sage in May 2019.

“ The second decision to allow more productive farm land to become a toxic dump and to facilitate mining expansion in the southern Hauraki/Coromandel ignores crucial issues” says Catherine Delahunty, Chairperson of Coromandel Watchdog.

“ The first decision by Minister Sage took issues such as environmental risks, the longer term contribution to climate emissions and the lack of sustainable economic benefits into account.

This second decision on basically the same application only considers current jobs without any context and we believe it fails other tests under Overseas Investment law. We are appalled that a Government which is supposed to have a plan for carbon neutrality by 2050 would be promoting an activity which increases emissions over 9 crucial years. The Ministers ignored important issues like the lack of shared wealth in Waihi and across the region despite the huge gold mining operation, and the risks of tailings dump failure in the longer term. It is also against the national interest to turn productive farm land into a toxic dump which will contaminate that land in perpetuity”.

Ms Delahunty said that filing a Judicial Review this week against Ministers of the Crown was a serious step but given the very poor decision making on this specific issue, it was necessary.

“ We are horrified that the Government undermined Minister Sage‘s decision on these grounds. It showed bad faith and a willingness to promote mining without considering the greatest issue of our time, climate change. We have to do everything we can to hold them to
account and to act within the OIO rules.”

“ We also note that Oceana Gold has just announced a cut in mine exploration and production jobs in Waihi so how can we trust their claims of job security?”

The Judicial Review will be heard in the High Court and no resource consents have yet been issued for the land in question at Waihi.