In 2000, Labour gave permission for two companies to carry out traditional gold-panning for tourism purposes on Schedule 4 land. This isn’t mining and is specifically allowed for under the legislation that created Schedule 4. Section 61(1A) of the Crown Minerals Act allows mining permits to be granted in Schedule 4 land for limited purposes, including
(d) Gold fossicking carried out in an area designated as a gold fossicking area under section 98 of the Crown Minerals Act 1991
(e) Any activity carried out in accordance with a special purpose mining permit for demonstrating historic mining methods as provided for in the relevant minerals programme required under section 13 of the Crown Minerals Act 1991. [hat-tip: No Right Turn]
National seems to think this is a great scandal that undermines (sorry) the Left’s argument against allowing industrial mining on Schedule 4. As if zero-impact gold-panning in rivers is comparable to gold cast mines and massive tailings lakes.
The Nats are so excited, in fact, that National gave the written answer that contains the information on these permits to their pollster, David Farrar, before the information was publicly available to spin in conjunction with their strategy in the House today.
They’re really getting desperate, aren’t they?