Watchdog Loses High Court Judicial Review on Mining but Will Keep Fighting

The High Court has ruled against our application for a Judicial Review of Ministers Parker and Robertson decision to allow Oceana Gold to build a new toxic waste tailings dam at Waihi.

“Of course we are disappointed in this decision but we are proud we challenged the Labour Ministers for their failure to protect our environment. They also sabotaged a great decision by Minister Sage. This is in addition to the breach of their promise to ban mining on Conservation land, which means we have to keep fighting  on multiple fronts against multinational gold companies as well as a Government who has failed us” Catherine Delahunty.

The legal decision basically supports the Ministers narrow consideration of “jobs only” when assessing whether an overseas company should have the right to buy land and convert it into a toxic waste dump. It rejects our argument that the national benefit of a project must include a proper assessment of any detriments as well as positives.

Ministers Parker and Robertson have sabotaged the decision of the Minister of Land Information, Eugenie Sage, that the foreign gold company, Oceana Gold, could not buy 178 hectares of farm land at Waihi and convert it into a toxic tailings dam. 

Eugenie Sage made a wise decision citing risks  from toxic waste, climate change effects and the lack of longer term economic  benefits to the region. We welcomed that decision as a recognition that assessing benefits obviously means assessing detriments. However the High Court has sided with the other Ministers and Oceana Gold.

We have no regrets that stood up for the public interest in this matter as there were strongly differing views between Ministers and debate over how the Overseas Investment Act should be interpreted. Despite the ruling in the High Court we strongly believe that the decision to allow another giant toxic waste dump in Waihi is against the national interest.

Labour have claimed climate change is our generations ‘nuclear free’ moment and yet they are supporting a dinosaur industry which relies heavily on fossil fuels and creates toxic waste. If they want to create sustainable  jobs they need to support urban mining of e waste, not more holes in the ground and use of fertile food producing land for toxic waste.  

The High Court ruling will not deter us from standing up for the public interest and the environment – against toxic mining.  Overseas investment should have to prove true benefit to Aotearoa and this expansion of mining does the opposite, future generations will see this ruling as another failure to hold Ministers to account for short sighted and irresponsible decision making that has no long term benefit.

Media release, September 10, 2020.