Not all conservation land is equal

Newshub?reports: Quote:

Coromandel residents are angry the Government has not honoured a pre-election promise to permanently protect a section of conservation land from mining.

The area, south of the Kopu-Hikuai highway down to Te Aroha, is home to the world’s most endangered amphibian, the Archey’s frog.

The Archey’s frog is one of the world’s oldest frogs, and one of only four remaining native frog species in New Zealand.

Last year, representatives from the Greens and Labour accepted a 4,500-strong petition, calling for the area to be brought under Schedule Four of the Crown Minerals Act.

Schedule Four protects specific conservation land from any open cast or underground mining with significant surface operations.

Labour’s pre-election conservation policy includes a promise to extend Schedule Four protection to “all the conservation land south of the Kopu-Hikuai Road to the southern boundary of the Te Aroha Ecological District”. End quote.

Come on. We’ve stopped oil and gas. We’ve disallowed coal mining at Te Kuha, where there were only a few snails and ferns. Let’s make it a trifecta. Quote:

In her Speech from the Throne last November, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced there would be no new mines on conservation land. A discussion document on the proposed policy is due to be released in September.

But a spokesperson for anti-mining group Coromandel Watchdog, Augusta Macassey-Pickard, said that won’t happen fast enough. End quote.

Credit: Luke

Speech from the throne… she is a princess, not a queen: that would be Helen. Quote:

“Mining generally degrades or destroys natural areas and the places that our unique birds, plants and insects live,” said Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage in May. “It permanently changes natural features and landscapes and has significant water pollution risks.”

However, she won’t commit to honouring the Government’s pre-election promise for specific protection for this part of the Coromandel, saying she is waiting to hear recommendations from the select committee considering last year’s petition.

“It would be inappropriate for us to undertake work that presumes a specific outcome,” Ms Sage told Newshub Nation.

Coromandel Watchdog has begun another petition to remind Labour and the Green party of their promise and say urgent action is needed.

[Spokesperson] Ms Macassey-Pickard says that even without active mining, the tiny Archey’s frogs – which only grow up to 37mm long – could be harmed by the exploration work that’s already underway.

“I would really question how anybody is expecting workmen on a site who are going to be wearing safety boots, ear muffs, safety goggles and operating big machinery, how are they going to see these frogs?” End quote.

Well, I’m going to stick my neck out a bit here and say that this government are only opposed to mining coal or exploration for oil and gas because they are horrible dirty things that may be a factor in climate change. (Their opinion, not mine.) We are all going to travel on buses and trains that run on fresh air, and have electric cars that are completely carbon neutral and sustainable, and the world will be a wonderful place. Gold mining, however, it seems, is perfectly okay. Even if the most endangered amphibian in the world is at risk as a result.

The hypocrisy is breathtaking.

Maybe there is another reason for this. Not many people will know that Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage has an interest in land in Charleston, Buller District, about 15 kilometres from the Te Kuha mine site. Here is an extract from the Register of Pecuniary and Other Specified Interests of Members of Parliament for 2018: Quote:

Hon Eugenie Sage (Green, List)
6. Real property
Family home (jointly owned), Diamond Harbour, Christchurch
Residential section (jointly owned), Beckenham, Christchurch
Rural land (jointly owned), Buller, West Coast
7. Superannuation schemes
AMP KiwiSaver End quote.

It would seem that her property in Buller is on the road that trucks would have to use to get to and from the mine. Is it drawing a long bow to suggest that she may have had a personal interest in not wanting the Te Kuha mine to go ahead? But she doesn’t give a damn about a few frogs? Some conservation minister.