More groups join appeal against seabed mining in NZ

On August 20 more than 100 people went to Patea’s Mana Beach to protest against seabed mining.

Laurel Stowell | Wanganui Chronicle | September 4, 2017

After much discussion the Taranaki/Whanganui Conservation Board has taken the unusual step of appealing against consent for seabed mining offshore from Patea, chairman Brendon Te Tiwha Puketapu says.

This despite the Conservation Department it works with having made no submission on Trans-Tasman Resources’ application to mine iron-sand across 66 square kilometres in the South Taranaki Bight.

Having made no submission on the application, the department cannot appeal it. But the board did make a submission, opposing the consent, and can appeal.

It has been advised that there are points of law on which the consent can be appealed, and that they fall within the board’s conservation management functions.

The board will ask whether the consenting body, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), had the best available information to work from, whether it used the precautionary principle and whether the consent given falls within the scope of an adaptive management approach.

“It has also sought to clarify how the EPA should have taken into account the Resource Management Act and in particular the strong directives of the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement,” Mr Puketapu said.

Te Ohu Kaimoana (the Maori Fisheries Trust) has also appealed the consent. Chief executive Dion Tuuta said that it did so in support iwi of the area, and that seabed mining was an unproven industry and a risk to fisheries.

Taranaki iwi Ngāruahine borders Patea and Hawera iwi Ngāti Ruanui but is not appealing the consent. Its pou whakarae Will Edwards said it was completely opposed to the mining venture and would support other iwi in their fight against it.

“We will utilise different strategies at different points at different times. Not all of these are played out on Facebook, in court, or in front of cameras.”

Another five groups have filed appeals against the mining consent. They are Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Ruanui, Kiwis Against Seabed Mining with Greenpeace in support, a fisheries group, Te Kāhui o Rauru and Forest & Bird.

The appeal period closed on Thursday and the appeals will be heard in the High Court.

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Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, New Zealand

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