20 July 2010

Brownlee's Mining Backdown?

It looks as though our submissions were successful! The Government has announced the decision decided not to allow mining by removing 7,000 hectares from Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act 1991. It is great that as many people marched and submitted as they have. It's great that Brownlee and co have backed down on mining in Schedule 4 conservation areas.

BUT there is a sting in the tail of the Government's announcement at Scoop. Its going to be much easier for mines to be approved in the other 60% of the conservation estate not in Schedule 4.

Scroll down to bullet point 12. 'What has the government agreed to, and why?' "Decisions regarding access to land for mineral-related activity are to be made jointly by the landholding minister and the Minister of Energy and Resources." That is by Kate Wilkinson AND Gerry Brownlee. So pro-mining Gerry gets to jointly decide mining access to conservation land. Gerry as disinterested impartial decision maker?? It's just gobsmacking.

Have a look at the decision making matters in Section 61(2) of the Crown Minerals Act 1991 , that Gerry (and Kate W) will operate under. They are:
"*(a) The objectives of any Act under which the land is administered; and
*(b) Any purpose for which the land is held by the Crown; and
*(c) Any policy statement or management plan of the Crown in relation to the land; and
*(d) The safeguards against any potential adverse effects of carrying out the proposed programme of work; and
*(e) Such other matters as the appropriate Minister considers relevant."

For a conservation area proposed for mining, considering a) through to e) will involve conservation purposes, not mining purposes. It's just so wrong for Gerry to have any role.

Even an allegedly more conservationist Minister twists these matters and approves mines. Here's an example; back on 12 March 2004 Chris Carter as Minister of Conservation agonised in deciding to approve Pike River Coal's application
but he still approved it.

Think how much quicker Gerry and Kate would have approved Pike River Coal Mine's access. This isn't good for conservation.

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