21 Jul 2010

City dwellers using West Coast to ease consciences - mayor

4:06 pm on 21 July 2010

A West Coast Mayor says city dwellers are using his region to ease their environmental consciences.

The Government has dropped plans to open 7000 hectares of protected land to mining after a public outcry.

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn says Aucklanders need to deal with what he calls "the mountain of carbon emissions" their highways are spewing out before blocking a small amount of mining on the West Coast.

He says it is not right that urban people should stop the region's development.

Mr Kokshoorn says the area proposed for exploration was only "a few thousand hectares" out of the two million hectares of conservation land on the West Coast.

He said there is a currently a balance between eco-tourism and mining on the West Coast and further mining would not compromise the environment.

He said the Government's decision not to mine on schedule four conservation land was hugely disappointing.

Pike River Mining chief executive Gordon Ward says New Zealand is missing an unusual opportunity.

Mr Ward says the decision cannot be dressed up as a good result because it will mean fewer Pike River-type operations can start.

Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee said on Tuesday there will be new surveys in parts of Northland and the West Coast of the South Island.