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12/12/2018 — Economics, Politics and Government
Discussion paper on mining ban for New Year
By Ross Louthean

The Government’s discussion document on its proposal for No New Mining on Conservation Land (NNMCL) is now expected to be released for public comment in the New Year.

The issue, which undoubtedly involves the economic wrecking ball hand of the Green Party, has been seen by the mining sector as overbearing and pandering to anti-miners, not the economy or regional centres that have an interest in resource development.

The mining lobby Straterra has been reporting to members that it appears the complexity of issues with NNMCL are becoming more apparent to ministers and officials.

It has been suggested that key ministers, including Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage – of the Green Party and a former employee of the anti-mining Forest & Bird group - are struggling to reach a consensus.

It has been suggested there are polarised views and disagreements between the Department of Conservation and the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

It was understood that Energy & Resources Minister Woods was still committed to the idea of legislation.

Exemptions may be available for alluvial gold and aggregates, particularly on the West Coast and it has been suggested some Ministers may be disposed towards exemption of stewardship land from the ban.

Points that have already been made by Straterra include:

• Not all conservation land is National Parks or high conservation value land.

• Existing environmental safeguards mean a ban is not necessary.

• Minerals are essential to the way New Zealanders live and a crucial part of the low carbon economy.

• Only 0.04% of conservation land is disturbed by mining.

• Mining creates well paid jobs and is particularly important in regional economies.

• Modern mining is conducted responsibly, including on conservation land, and rehabilitation in NZ is typically world class.

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