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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Farewell to New Zealand's clean and green image - very likely "green activists" claim

A cash starved National Government considers allowing mining in Department of Conservation Estates in both North and South Island national parks. Will it be farewell to New Zealand's clean and green image? Opponents claim it could; the Green Party has actually produced a list of likely sites for potential exploitation. Mining and conservation are not great bedmates. Read further:

Green campaigners are not buying the Government line that there is nothing to fear in mining Department of Conservation (DOC) land.

The Green Party has produced a list of sites at threat of possible exploitation, while Greenpeace says the countryside is under attack, and it too is preparing for battle.

The Waituna Lagoon in Southland, the Aspiring National Park and Paparoa National Park on the West Coast, Kahurangi National Park at the top of the South Island and the whole of the Coromandel are all under threat.

Geoff Keey from Greenpeace is not buying the claim high value conservation land is not at risk - saying the country is under attack.

Greenpeace is concerned the DOC estate will be stripped.

"The very things we use to promote our clean green image - our national parks, our wildlife refuges, all the really important things, are under attack,” Mr Keey says.

But Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee has scotched such suggestions.

“No one would want to see those ripped up in anyway whatsoever,” he says.

Industry experts like Eddie Davis from Minerals West Coast say there is a middle ground for both mining and conservation.

“I think everybody in our industry is for that type of thing but we just need trade-offs. Don't stop one for the sake of the other,” Mr Davis says.

“What I really want to do is get DOC and Crown Minerals talking to each other rather than over top of each other,” says Mr Brownlee.

Pike River mine in Greymouth is being held up as a shining example of sustainability in action.

When the coal is exhausted in a few decades time, the entire operation will be dismantled and the site returned to the forest.

Mr Brownlee says the recently created Oteaki Park in Southland is another indication of what is possible.

"We kept out of that park 200h because there might at some point some mineral value that could be readily accessed on that little bit of it,” he says.

However, Greens co-leader Russel Norman is not convinced.

“National parks are national treasures, and any government that threatens to destroy those national treasures by mining is betraying future generations,” he says.

"Mining is not compatible with doesn't work together,” adds Mr Keey.

Greenpeace are demanding answers from the mining industry about the proposed mining in national parks.

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