Wellington, May 25 NZPA - Thousands of submissions on the Government's mining proposals were fed into a makeshift letterbox outside the Ministry of Economic Development in Wellington today in a public show of opposition before submissions close tomorrow.
The small protest involved Green and Labour Party MPs, Greenpeace and Forest and Bird representatives and others opposed to plans to open up some of the country's protected schedule four land for prospecting and possible mining.
Quentin Duthie from Forest and Bird said the stack of submissions passed on today through various groups was likely to get the total submission count up to about 40,000. It was likely to be some time before the ratio of those in opposition and those in support was known.
Labour's conservation spokesman David Parker said he had not seen as many submissions on any issue during his eight years in Parliament.
"It shows people that political activism by them does make a difference, because we very clearly see the Government back-pedalling on what was always a ridiculous idea -- which was to mine the national parks," he said.
The Government has proposed removing several thousand hectares of conservation land in the Coromandel, Great Barrier Island and Paparoa National Park from schedule four of the Crown Minerals Act, which protects it from mining, so valuable minerals can be extracted.
If proposals go ahead and mining is undertaken it will create jobs and wealth and contribute to a goal of lifting the economy, the Government said.
Greens co-leader Metiria Turei said the public was being increasingly exposed to the facts about mining, and regardless of any potential royalty revenue, jobs, or wealth benefits, the majority still wanted to keep pristine parts of the country protected.