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No impact from mining decision on GDP - English

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Bill English
Bill English

Wellington, July 22 NZPA - A Government U-turn on mining will not have an impact on economic growth, Finance Minister Bill English told Parliament today.

The Government this week scrapped plans to take about 7000 hectares of Conservation Estate land in the Coromandel, Great Barrier Island and Paparoa National Park out of "schedule four" protected status. It said the public clearly didn't want that to happen, but felt the feedback provided a mandate for mining in other areas, including lower value conservation land.

During question time today, Labour MP David Cunliffe asked what impact the cancelled plans would have on GDP growth projections over the next five years.

"It will not have any effect," Mr English said.

Mr Cunliffe wondered in that case why the Government had touted it as central to the Government's plans for a step change in the economy which Mr English used as an invite to talk about Prime Minister John Key's "visionary and aspirational" view of what the economy needed.

"That is backed up by a Minister of Energy and Resources (Gerry Brownlee) who has done an excellent job of building a profile of that industry.

"After the Government's decisions on schedule four, investors now have certainty and encouragement to expand mining and resources significantly. I expect that it will show up in the GDP figures in the future."

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei told reporters increased mining was not worth a small benefit.

"If the public are only going to get less than 1 percent of the royalties for the resources, well, where is the public interest in having private companies come and dig up our land? There is no mandate, we know that from the numbers in the consultation document, for further investigation of the conservation estate."

She said the industry was not job-rich and was destructive.

"The return to the country is very, very poor its hard to see what the public interest is in having an expansion of the mining industry."

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