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Greens Find More Problems With Minterals Stocktake

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Gerry Brownlee
Gerry Brownlee

Wellington, Oct 6 NZPA - The Government is proposing giving the mining industry a veto over new national park boundaries, the Green Party said today, as it continued its campaign against the mineral stocktake ordered by Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee.

A spokesman for Mr Brownlee said all the proposal meant was that the Department of Conservation (Doc) would give the Department of Economic Development a month's notice before reclassifying any of its land, so it could ascertain whether there were any minerals in it.

Doc can reclassify land in the conservation estate and put it under schedule four of the Crown Minerals Act, which protects it from mining.

Greens co-leader Metiria Turei said that in effect the proposal meant the Government was giving its mining department, Crown Minerals, a secret power of veto.

"Crown Minerals and the mining industry work closely together," she said.

"Crown Minerals describes the mining industry as `clients'."

Ms Turei said if the Government went ahead with its proposal the public would never know if a boundary had been vetoed.

"Classifying or reclassifying an area can mean creating a new park, extending park boundaries, or elevating general conservation land to a higher protected status because of endangered species or special values," she said.

Mr Brownlee announced the stocktake in August, saying the Government wanted to know the extent of the country's mineral reserves and where they were.

An estimated 70 percent of New Zealand's mineral wealth is in conservation land and Mr Brownlee said no pristine landscape would be mined.

The Greens said on Sunday the stocktake included investigating reserves in three national parks which meant the Government was considering mining them.

Mr Brownlee said they were being hysterical.

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