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Govt in trouble over mining conservation land, Labour says

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
David Parker
David Parker

Wellington, May 27 NZPA - The Labour Party believes the Government is facing so much opposition to mining conservation land it will again reduce the area its proposals cover.

Opposition conservation spokesman David Parker says the Government originally wanted to open up 467,000 hectares of schedule four land for mining, reduced that to 7000ha and was now believed to be considering 3500ha.

Land in schedule four of the Crown Minerals Act is protected from mining because it is high quality conservation land, including national parks.

A consultation document was released and more than 33,000 submissions have been received -- including one from a mining company urging the Government not to dig up New Zealand's most pristine areas.

"During my time in Parliament I have never seen such overwhelming opposition to a government plan," Mr Parker said.

"This plan has been a shambles from the start...we hope that should a back down occur it is handled in a much more open and honest manner."

The submission put in by Newmont Waihi Gold, which operates in the Coromandel, was raised in Parliament yesterday.

It said more detailed analysis was needed to accurately assess the conservation value of land and prove the potential value of any minerals in a given area.

Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee said the company was the only one that held a prospecting licence in the Coromandel.

"I presume they are going to relinquish it," he said.

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