5 Oct 2021

NZ govt urged to ban seabed mining for Pacific's sake

10:13 am on 5 October 2021

A New Zealand Supreme Court ruling against seabed mining has been described as important for the Pacific region.

After a long legal process the Supreme Court has ruled against a bid by Trans Tasman Resources to mine the South Taranaki seabed.

The ruling was welcomed by Te Paati Māori co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer of Ngāti Ruanui iwi in South Taranaki, who led legal challenges against the bid.

A map provided by Trans-Tasman Resources showing the area covered by the proposed ironsands project.

A map showing the area covered by the South Taranaki Bight Project. Photo: Trans-Tasman Resources

Ngarewa-Packer is wary about seabed mining companies courting Pacific islands governments with promises of money and claims that seabed minerals will help the fight against climate change.

"This isn't about the planet and this isn't about people, and I think if there's anything that a pandemic environment has warned us it's that money is not the 'be all and end all' I think," she said.

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Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

"Seabed mining wasn't able to guarantee any assurance off environmental protection at all, it's purely desecration."

Given the growing interest in the Pacific Ocean seabed by mining advocates, Ngarewa-Packer said it's incumbent on New Zealand to lead the way.

"The pressure now has to be calling on the prime minister to follow through and ban seabed mining. And if we follow through then the other Pasifika nations will get the confidenceto follow throught. There's better ways to grow an economy."

Ngarewa-Packer said New Zealand must now ban seabed mining in its waters.

She said economic growth should not come at the cost of the environment and future generations.