Tag Archives: Maori

Taranaki iron sand seabed mining consent reduced Māori interest to lip service, court told

Ngati Ruanui iwi went to Parliament to voice its protest against the Trans-Tasman Resources’ plans to mine iron sand off the Taranaki coast. (File photo: Monique Ford)

Stuff | April 16 2018

Māori interests were not properly considered in the decision to allow iron sand seabed mining off Taranaki, a court has been told.

They went to the High Court at Wellington on Monday seeking to overturn environmental permission for the project.

A lawyer for Māori and fishing interests, Francis Cooke, QC, said as far as they were aware this was a world first for deep sea iron sand mining to be allowed to be undertaken.

Ngati Ruanui protested against Trans-Tasman Resources’ bid for marine consent to mine the seabed for iron sand. More than 6000 people signed the petition calling for a moratorium on seabed mining. (File photo: Monique Ford)

The permission, though, had split the Environmental Protection Authority decision making committee, and the outcome depended on the chairman’s vote.

Cooke said the majority decision of the committee had reduced to an “interpretive gloss” the strongly-worded direction to take into account the interests of Māori, and give effect to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Instead the interests of Māori could be said to be reduced to lip service, he said.

The highest concentration of suspended sediment would occur in coastal marine area offshore from the Ngāti Ruanui district, and fish were expected to avoid the area, with severe effect on seabed life within 2km of the operation, and moderate effects up to 15km of the mining area.

Cooke said an earlier decision for the same activity, the same parties, in the same area had been declined, on different evidence. One of the later committee’s alleged errors was not taking into account the first decision to decline the application.

Even the committee that gave consent described some of the effects as perhaps being catastrophic from Trans-Tasman Resources’ mining, Cooke said.

The company has allegedly spent about $80 million preparing for the mining.

The decision making committee said that when extraction finally ended the effects would be long term, but not permanent.

Cooke said the committee appeared to have applied a standard that allowed the environment to be harmed provided it ultimately recovered.

It had misunderstood, and misapplied the law, he said. The committee never identified the standard against which it judged the environmental effect.

At the start of Monday’s hearing some members of the public could not find seats in the crowded courtroom and had to listen to proceedings via a link to a court foyer.

In August, the authority’s committee granted Trans-Tasman Resources 35-year marine and discharge consents to annually mine up to 50 million tonnes of iron sand in the South Taranaki Bight.

A remote-controlled dredge will vacuum sand from the sea bed between depths of 20 metres and 42m, at a rate of 8000 tonnes an hour, to a processing ship. The dredging is earmarked in an area 22 kilometres to 36km off the coastline from Patea.

The decision committee said the company proposed extracting seabed material and processing it on a vessel. Approximately 10 per cent of the material would be processed into iron ore concentrate and the rest would be discharged to the seabed. It was expected much of the concentrate would be sent to China for steel making.

Taranaki iwi, Greenpeace, Kiwis Against Seabed Mining, the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society, the Taranaki-Whanganui Conservation Board, Cloudy Bay Clams, the Federation of Commercial Fishermen, Southern Inshore Fisheries Management Company, Talleys Group, Te Ohu Kai Moana Trustee Ltd, and Trustees of Te Kaahui o Rauru, have appealed against the authority’s approval.

Trans-Tasman Resources is supporting the committee’s decision.

The hearing is expected to take about a week.

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Outrage over limited hearing locations for NZ seabed mining decision

Nga Rauru Kitahi general manager Anne-Marie Broughton compared the hearing locations to tactics employed against Maori in the 1800s.

Nga Rauru Kitahi general manager Anne-Marie Broughton compared the hearing locations to tactics employed against Maori in the 1800s.

Jeremy Wilkinson  | Stuff NZ | January 25 2017

Hearings which will decide whether a company can mine the seabed off the coast of Taranaki will only be held in two locations – to the outrage of opposition groups. 

Trans Tasman Resources has applied for the second time in as many years to mine ore from sand 36 kilometres off the coast of Patea. A previous, similar application was denied in 2014. 

The Environmental Protection Authority will host hearings in New Plymouth and Wellington in mid-February, but Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (Kasm) is arguing that opposition to the mining is far more widespread and hearing locations should be tailored to reflect that. 

Nagti Ruanui, the other iwi whose territory TTR has applied to mine iron sand in, protested at parliament in late 2016.

Nagti Ruanui, the other iwi whose territory TTR has applied to mine iron sand in, protested at parliament in late 2016.

“When the authority held their hearings last time around there were hearings in Hamilton and Whanganui so people all over the country could at least make one,” Kasm’s secretary Cindy Baxter said. 

Baxter said of the more than 4000 people that submitted through Kasm, 118 were in Raglan, 65 in Auckland, 38 in Whanganui and 26 in New Plymouth.

“Where they’re holding hearings doesn’t reflect where the majority of submissions are coming from,” she said. 

The 66 square kilometres off the South Taranaki coast where Trans Tasman Resources have applied to mine iron ore.

The 66 square kilometres off the South Taranaki coast where Trans Tasman Resources have applied to mine iron ore.

“They’ve said people can Skype in to the hearings, but that’s not really the same thing.”

As for why people from all over the country have submitted against TTR and want to be heard at the hearings, Baxter said it was the precedent the proposed mining activity would set. 

“It’s the black sand that links us,” she said. 

“People are very protective of it. That’s how I got involved with Kasm, because I live at a black sand beach in Piha and I was worried once they were done with Taranaki they would move north.”

Kasm estimated that more than 17,000 people had submitted against TTR’s latest application, a number later confirmed by the Environmental Protection Authority as 13,733 total submissions – with those for and against yet to be confirmed. 

This was the highest number of submissions the EPA has ever received on any application since it was established in 2011. The second highest being 4850 submissions on TTR’s similar application in 2014. 

It’s not just Kasm that is unhappy with the decision. Nga Rauru Kitahi – one of the iwi which TTR’s proposed mining activities will affect – has said the decision to not hold hearings within the territory of tangata whenua was “appalling”.

“It’s a serious insult to not hold hearings on one of Ngati Ruanui or Nga Rauru Kitahi marae or at an absolute minimum, within one of our rohe (territory),” Nga Rauru Kitahi’s general manager Anne-Marie Broughton said. 

She compared the the decision to “behaviour deployed on Maori in the 1800s when the Native Land Court convened sittings regarding Maori land in distant locations creating barriers of time and cost to owners”.

“Consequently, many Maori owners were unable to attend court hearings, resulting in the loss of their lands.”

Broughton said it was appalling that this behaviour was continuing in 2017.

The hearing will begin in the Member’s Lounge in Westpac Stadium, Wellington, at 9am on February 16. 

Dates and times for the New Plymouth hearings have yet to be confirmed. 

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NZ Maori backs moratorium on seabed mining

new zealand

Robin Martin | Radio Ne Zealand

A South Taranaki iwi is getting behind a call for a moratorium on all seabed mining until the Government can prove its effects are minimal.

The Ngati Ruanui Runanga chief executive said the iwi was supporting a petition for a moratorium started by environmental group ‘Kiwis Against Seabed Mining’.

Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said Trans-Tasman Resources’ unsuccessful application for consents to mine ironsand off the South Taranaki coast showed that there were too many uncertainties in the controversial practice.

She said the Government should investigate seabed mining thoroughly and not rely on a few “guinea pig” areas to establish its environmental, cultural and economic impacts

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