13, Sep, 2004

Coromandel Watchdog appeal for urban support

Category: ECO Inc


The Coromandel environmental group, Peninsula Watchdog, is appealing to bach owners and other absentee ratepayers in Auckland and Hamilton to enroll and cast a special vote in the forthcoming local body elections for the Thames-Coromandel District Council.

Peninsula Watchdog was established in the 1980s, to co-ordinate the activities of a coalition of local groups opposed to gold-mining in their areas. Amongst the most significant of Watchdog's achievements was the ban on mining on conservation land and coastal areas north of Kopu, and the position adopted by the Thames Coromandel District Council in 1996, requiring mining to be a prohibited activity in the coastal and conservation zones in the TCDC District Plan. The organization has been brought out of mothballs to mobilize against the latest threat of industrial mining, which has been facilitated by the decision in April this year of the Thames-Coromandel District Council to abruptly change its long-established position, and to greatly relax the provisions of the District Scheme with regard to mining, including allowing underground mining as a Discretionary Activity in Coastal and Conservation Areas.

Local body elections are being held later this month, and Watchdog believes there is an opportunity for the Coromandel ratepayers to elect representatives who will do a better job of protecting the Peninsula than the previous Council. Watchdog has distributed a pledge to all candidates standing for Mayor or Councillors of the Thames-Coromandel District Council, calling on them to clearly state their position on mining and the Council's policy. Results are being regularly updated as replies are received on the website www.pohutukawa.org.nz/mining/watchdogpledge.htm and will be published before voting papers are distributed on 17 September.

Meanwhile, Watchdog is calling on all absentee ratepayers who have not already done so to urgently enrol as a non-resident ratepayer elector in the Thames-Coromandel District Council, by phoning the Electoral Roll office on 0800-922-822, and requesting that they be allowed to cast a special vote in the forthcoming elections. ..ends