Straterra Supports DOC’s Ngāi Tahu Land Use Panel
Straterra supports the Ngāi Tahu Mana Whenua committee’s recommendation not to reclassify stewardship lands as national parks on Te Tai Poutini (west coast), said Josie Vidal, CEO of Straterra.
In its presentation on the reclassification of West South Island Stewardship Lands, Straterra argues that such a reclassification could result in irreversible decisions preventing other equally important uses of Department of Conservation lands ( DOC), including mining. The government-appointed Western South Island National Committee has made recommendations for 504 parcels of West Coast Stewardship land. A Mana Whenua committee appointed by the Ngāi Tahu also made recommendations.
“The economic consequences and lost opportunities of ending access to protected lands could be significant, with impacts on local, regional and national people through access to work, and subsequently economies, as well as fiscal levies and export revenue from the Crown,” Vidal says. .
“The Ngāi Tahu Mana Whenua Panel has integrated economic and social value into its decision-making, for example, in its support for grazing, mining and hydroelectricity, as well as housing relocation. We welcome this holistic approach coming from the panel as kaitiaki of the region.
“It seems negligent that economic and social value is not part of the criteria of the National Panel, in the best interest of the management of public conservation lands.
“It’s important because reclassification can prevent other land uses without any positive conservation impact. The biggest challenges for native biodiversity and conservation are weeds and pests.
“Agriculture, ski slopes, roads and parking lots are on protected land and have a greater impact than mining. Moreover, unlike other land uses, mining has a limited lifespan and mining lands are returned after rehabilitation, often in a better condition than they were when mining began.
“While we fully support the government’s conservation goals, we believe the negative impact of mining is overstated. The truth is that mining, properly regulated, can and should be part of the solution.
“Demand for critical minerals is increasing globally, especially for low-emission technologies. New Zealand has potential for some of these minerals and much of it is in the conservation realm.
“To meet New Zealand’s imperatives and expectations around a low emissions future, it makes sense to keep the option open for mining.
“Let’s not forget that New Zealand has permitted mining on protected land, excluding national parks and Schedule 4 land, for many decades. Only 0.04% of the conservation area is used for mining and quarrying.
“We question the need for land stewardship review to ensure the protection of high-value conservation lands, as such protections already exist in the Resource Management Act and through the Court of Justice. the environment.
“Once again we see the government trying to solve a problem that does not exist,” Vidal says.
Straterra is the industry association representing New Zealand’s mining and mining sector. You can read our brief here.
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