Chris Gardner | stuff.nz
A Raglan-based pressure group that stands against seabed mining is marking World Oceans Day by widening a petition.
Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM) said Lush Cosmetics had already collected 3500 signatures over six weeks calling for environment minister Nick Smith to impose moratorium on seabed mining.
On Monday, KASM chairman Phil McCabe said in a statement that he was widening the campaign.
“After two failed seabed mining proposals, it has become abundantly clear that we don’t know enough about the impacts of this experimental practice, and we need more information,” McCabe said.
“The mining industry is now calling for our Government to weaken the laws that govern our oceans to make it easier for them to mine the seabed – that’s totally unacceptable,” he said.
“World Oceans Day is a good day to call taihoa on seabed mining. We need to know what we’re dealing with and where we want to go before diving headlong into this unchartered territory,” said McCabe.
Trans Tasman Resources and Chatham Rock Phosphate both recently lost bids to mine the seabed off New Zealand. Trans Tasman Resources’ application was to mine iron sands off the South Taranaki Bight. Chatham Rock Phosphate’s application was for phosphate off the Chatham Rise.
KASM is concerned New Zealand, which has the fourth largest Marine Estate in the world, poorly understood the seabed and there was no overarching management plan.
“Instead of inviting more wastage of investment dollars on further haphazard and inappropriate seabed mining applications, KASM thinks it’s time for the Government to go back to the drawing board, do more research into the makeup of our marine environment and initiate a national discussion on how we want to treat our oceans,” the statement said.
“We’re only just discovering the blue whale foraging ground in the Taranaki Bight – what else is out there that could be affected? We just don’t have that information.”