14 Jun 2012

Tribe maintains anti-mineral search stand

7:02 pm on 14 June 2012

A Far North iwi is standing by its plans to refuse land access to companies that want to explore parts of Northland for metallic minerals.

Ngati Kahu says the Crown presumes it has sovereignty over its whenua, but it doesn't.

The Ministry of Economic Development on Wednesday asked companies to step forward and bid for the right to explore for minerals.

But Ngati Kahu chief executive Anahera Herbert-Graves says the prospecting firms still won't be welcome in its district.

She says that includes the Department of Conservation estate.

Ms Herbert-Graves says the iwi's relationship with the Crown is dysfunctional.

The Ministry of Economic Development says it's kept Ngati Kahu fully informed - and phoned the tribe about the mineral exploration plans.

It also says an exploration permit doesn't give companies the right to go onto land and they have to negotiate with the owner to gain access.