Watchdog challenges Local Body Candidates to state views on mining

Media Release

Watchdog has challenged the candidates standing for positions in the Thames-Coromandel District to answer questions on mining particularly their stance on Schedule 4, the District Plan, sustainable alternatives for the district and their commitment to addressing historical mine pollution.

See here for the responses to our questions: Candidates Matrix

We didn’t hear from the incumbent mayor, Glenn Leach, but the challenging mayoral candidate, Benjamin Parsons said that the best way to use our resources was to be ’gentle on the land and caring to visitors’ by taking advantage of tourism rather than ‘allowing big mining companies to ‘steal from the cookie jar’’,” said Coromandel Watchdog Coordinator Renee Annan.

“Sandra Goudie was the only Thames Ward candidate not to respond, Diane Connors, Bill Barclay and Barry Scott all stated their opposition to prospecting and exploration being allowed in Schedule 4 lands and waters, Connors said “These sites are listed as Schedule 4 because of their significant value and as such should be protected.”.”

Peter French acknowledged that any wharf projects may have to consider the contamination from historic mining in both Coromandel and Thames and stated he is not ‘anti-mining as I see it as an important part of economic development. What I am anti are the long term negative effects of mining.’

Generally the responses were supportive of sustainable activities in the district being worked on by the council in the future instead of gold mining.

“However there are concerning views that mining if done in the ‘right way’ is a sustainable activity and can have no adverse effects on the environment. It is important to reiterate to the candidates and the public that gold mining leaves a toxic legacy that will be left to our grandchildren.”

“There are 14 prospecting, exploration and mining permits in the district including over Schedule 4 land and waters. Now there is also a permit application in Coromandel, just south of SH25 and down to behind Manaia – despite decades of community opposition there is still a huge mining threat,” said Ms Annan. “The council and community boards have opportunities to make decisions that can protect and sustain the unique nature of the Coromandel and value a clean environment for the future – we want to hear what candidates have to say about this.”

“So this year is a big one for having a say politically, people can make a difference and vote for candidates ready to work for a sustainable future.”

If you haven’t voted yet or haven’t received your papers you can still get your papers in the post or visit the council to cast a special vote before the end of Friday, October 11.

15 out of 46 candidates responded to our questionnaire, see the attached matrix for their responses and below for some quotes, if responses continue to come in they will be updated on our website: