23 March 2010

Gerry Brownlee and Kate Wilkinson's conservation mining proposal

I have posted three letters about Gerry Brownlee and Kate Wilkinson's conservation mining proposal. Here is the letter I sent John Key.

"Dear Mr Key,

I have just read the joint statement of Gerry Brownlee and Kate Wilkinson, “Time to discuss maximising our mineral potential”, released yesterday, 22 March 2010.

I am very disappointed that your Government intends to increase potential mining within conservation areas by removing 7,058 hectares of Crown-owned conservation land from Schedule Four of the Crown Minerals Act. This idea is completely contrary to the statutory conservation management purposes of those areas.

This decision will damage 'Brand New Zealand', our clean and green image that exporters and the tourism industry rely on.

I am also completely unconvinced by the assertion that such mining will be environmentally responsible. If your Government were genuinely concerned about ensuring that mining was conducted with environmental responsibility, you would have acted on the PCE Dr Jan Wright's recommendation of 27 October 2009 to do something about the holders of 111 old mining licences that operate without resource consents.

Dr Wright's report is Stockton revisited: The mine and regulatory minefield. She recommends that the 111 old mining licences should be supplemented with adequate resource consents that have up to date monitoring and mitigation conditions.

I am not convinced that the likely mining impacts of the additional mining can be either mitigated or compensated for. Given your Government has reduced the Department of Conservation's budget by $15million per annum for the next three years, the proposed $10million per annum compensation fund does not even return DOC to square one."

I still have not received a reply from my last letter to Key, or even an answer from the hon Anne Tolley.

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