Forest and Bird is pressing strongly on the issue that may soon turn in to Mining March II. From The Herald yesterday:
Minister gave word on coalmine, say lobbyists
Pressure is mounting on Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson for allegedly breaking her word that the public would get a say on development of a huge open-cast coal mine.
Ms Wilkinson initially gave an undertaking to consult the public on significant mining applications in July last year when stiff public opposition forced her and Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee to backtrack on plans to open up Schedule Four conservation land to mining.
Environmental advocacy group Forest & Bird says she also this year gave a specific undertaking that the public would be consulted over Australian company Bathurst Resources’ application for access for an open- cast mine on conservation land at Denniston Plateau north of Westport. But this week she sent Forest & Bird a letter saying that would not happen. …
“Thousands of New Zealanders marched down Queen St because they were concerned about mining on conservation land and we believed the Government had taken on the message that the public wanted conservation land to be protected from mining. “We think it’s disappointing for all New Zealanders who marched to have this decision made just days after the election.” But through a spokesman, Ms Wilkinson denied making that undertaking to Forest & Bird. …
“It would be the second largest open-cast mine in the country and that’s just stage one. They have made no secret about the fact that their intention is to expand from that first stage into an operation that takes over pretty much the entirety of the Denniston Plateau and at that point it’s without doubt New Zealand’s largest coalmine.”
Now correct me if I’m wrong here, but isn’t it the job of a “Conservation” Minister to, you know, conserve? Instead of leading the mining charge? Ramping up a new and bigger than ever coalmine is a conservation crime. And that’s just here in NZ, never mind the sheer stupidity of mining coal that so significantly fuels carbon emissions. Anyone up for another march?