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Mining on conservation land "stupid economics" - academic

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, May 28 NZPA - Celebrated physicist Professor Sir Paul Callaghan says the Government's plans to mine on conservation land are "stupid economics".

The Government is consulting on removing some land from the protection of schedule four of the Crown Minerals Act. 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.

Sir Paul, who founded the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology at Victoria University of Wellington, was awarded an honorary doctorate of science at a Massey graduation yesterday.

During his acceptance speech Sir Paul said the idea was stupid economics and financial benefits would be outweighed by damage to New Zealand's reputation.

"National parks help define who we are, they are places we go to replenish the soul, to remind us of what is important in life. They are our covenant with the future, our gift to our children and their children...

"The suggestion to mine national parks is not only stupid economics, it represents an affront to our future, indeed, an assault on the heart and soul of our nation. It is a failure in leadership of the meanest kind."

The Government has said mining would only be allowed if it could be done in a sustainable way.

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