31 Aug 2022

Petition to end mining on conservation land delivered to Parliament

8:19 pm on 31 August 2022

By Eva de Jong

Environmentalists are calling on the government to honour its promise seven years ago to end mining on conservation land, with a petition presented to Parliament today.

Minister of Conservation visiting workers removing wilding pines in Craigie Burn

Earlier this month, Green Party conservation spokesperson Eugenie Sage's proposed bill to end mining on land protected by the Department of Conservation was drawn from the ballot. Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

Former Green MP Catherine Delahunty, who now chairs the group Coromandel Watchdog of Hauraki, handed over the petition signed by 11,000 people to the Green's conservation spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

The petition requests that the government puts an immediate moratorium on applications, processing or granting of prospecting, exploration or mining permits on public conservation land in Aotearoa.

"The Labour government promised to stop all new mining activity in 2017 and have failed to act," Delahunty said.

However, since then at least 44 more mining companies had gained access to conservation land, including the habitat of the 200 million year old Archey's frog at Wharekirauponga behind Whangamatā, she said.

In May this year the government began a stewardship land review to reclassify public conservation land - but mining has continued whilst the review is underway.

Catherine Delahunty

Coromandel Watchdog of Hauraki chair Catherine Delahunty Photo: Supplied

"While they avoid the promise by doing a review of stewardship lands we are calling for an immediate moratorium on new mining activity," Delahunty said.

Forest and Bird's George Hobson said the petition was a "show of force" from the public against mining.

In 2010, an estimated 50,000 people marched through central Auckland calling for an end to conservation land mining.

Sage said the public should not be faced with "large open cast pits, and big heaps of waste drop polluting rivers" when visiting areas protected by DOC.

Her private member's bill to end mining on land protected by the Department of Conservation was drawn from the ballot earlier this month.

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