Coromandel Watchdog Challenges Government to Honour Promises
Coromandel Watchdog of Hauraki is furious that the Government’s failure to implement protections that have been promised by one or more of the coalition partners for years has resulted in a mining application being lodged against prime Coromandel Conservation land.
Oceana Gold has applied for a Mining Permit over more than 5000 hectares in the Wharekirauponga area, Conservation land that is home to a range of threatened species including the worlds most threatened frog, despite alluding to such an application being some years away.
“This is the consequence of Government inaction. We know this area must not be mined, that it is a significant area of habitat, a significant landscape, the Government knows it too – they have said so often enough, and yet their inaction has allowed this application to occur."
"We are calling on them to enact the protections now – extend Schedule 4 to Te Aroha, and formalise the No New Mines on conservation land policy. This would be a new mine,” says Augusta Macassey-Pickard, spokesperson for the group.
Given how the system works, the permit is likely to be granted automatically, however the Access Agreement the company has with the Department of Conservation would have to be renegotiated. “Simply, the Minister for Conservation must decline access for mining. It is simply not appropriate in this area.”
As well as being prime DOC land, the area is a Significant Natural Area is the Hauraki District Plan – meaning that it has been identified as very special. “And yet we are told that there are ‘checks and balances’ in the RMA that would ensure that this is effectively harmless? Well, this SNA has already been fragmented and drilled, compromised. There was no public notification of any of the resource consents to allow drilling here. It makes rather a mockery of the idea that it’s all fine, the RMA will kick in and we will be heard” continues Macassey-Pickard.
“Our communities have been very clear –the whole country has been very clear. We don’t want to see our beautiful conservation land mined. We don’t want the Coromandel Range undermined, and we will fight to protect it. Why is the Government failing to honour their promises? Why are they not protecting this unique and significant area? Time they honour their promises and act, fast.”