Business lobby group wants more environmental damage with less controls for mining

The thrust of the NZ Initiative paper “From Red Tape to Green Gold” released today is that mining companies should be able to do more environmental damage with less controls, according to environmental watchdog Forest & Bird.

“Forget the smoke and mirrors and arguments about minerals per capita – it’s about mining corporations lobbying to be able to do more environmental damage with less controls, subsidised by  the New Zealand taxpayer”, said Kevin Hackwell, Group Manager Campaigns & Advocacy

 “Attempts by the New Zealand Initiative to portray mining as the salvation of struggling regions’ economy is laughable. The mining ghost towns dotted around New Zealand are clear testimony that the boom/bust cycle of coal mining is not economical or environmentally sustainable in the long term.”

Kevin Hackwell says mining is probably the most destructive form of development we undertake.

“We should therefore be particularly careful about how we do it. Forest and Bird makes no apologies for standing up for the protection of biodiversity threatened by large scale mining proposals.

 ”Our advocacy may be seen as inconvenient and unnecessary red tape to overseas mining companies, but to our 70 thousand members and supporters, it’s about ensuring that current environmental law is applied in the manner in which it was intended.” 

The report criticises Forest & Bird’s going to court over the resource consent for the Bathurst Resources open cast coal mine on Conservation land on the Denniston Plateau.

Local council, Environment Court and High Court all agreed that it was a finely balanced decision and that the issues which were challenged by Forest & Bird were significant.  As a result of the court cases the final environmental conditions were a lot stronger than originally proposed by the miner and approved by the council.

“We’re not anti-development, rather we are strongly pro-environment, says Kevin Hackwell.