Paul Brooks | Wanganui Chronicle Editorial | 24 August, 2017
THE SEABED mining dispute in South Taranaki has many of us wondering exactly what constitutes the role of the Environmental Protection Authority and its large staff of former politicians, accountants and the odd person actually versed in environmental matters.
Its decision to allow seabed mining of ironsands in an ecologically sensitive area highlights its political — as opposed to its environmental — nature. Its title is an oxymoron.
It is also worth noting that the decision by the committee appointed by the EPA was split, two for approving the application and two against it, with the casting vote made by chairman Alick Shaw, a former politician and professional committee member.
To quote from the EPA website:
“Mr Shaw is currently a member of the Housing New Zealand Board and the New Zealand Parole Board (until the end of September 2016). He completed two terms as a board member for the New Zealand Transport Agency. Mr Shaw has held numerous positions on a variety of governance boards, and is a former Councillor and Deputy Mayor of Wellington City Council.”
And his knowledge of the seabed and consequences of its destruction come from … ?
It was his decision to allow seabed mining to go ahead.
That decision went against the wishes of the people who live in the affected area, the people who are protesting and putting a legitimate case against the mining proposal. To suggest their petitions and submissions were taken into account before the decision was made is, in the vernacular, bollocks. The decision was political.
It was made by a committee appointed by an agency run by a Government which has systematically withdrawn funding from environmental protection and conservation.
That decision was a foregone conclusion despite the well-paid months the committee sat and pondered.
The promises of jobs and local prosperity, even if true, mean nothing in comparison with the environmental damage to the region and the pillage of valuable breeding grounds.
But who is listening?