Bathurst Resources office opening – not our brighter future
Media release from Forest & Bird, Greenpeace New Zealand, Coal Action Network Aotearoa, 350 Aotearoa, Generation Zero, ECO (Environment and Conservation Organisations of Aotearoa New Zealand), WWF-New Zealand, OraTaiao: New Zealand Climate and Health, Pacific Institute of Resource Management, Coromandel Watchdog
A wide range of New Zealand's environmental organisations today slammed the opening of Australian-owned Bathurst Resources' new head office in Wellington, which Bathurst says will be officiated at by Prime Minister John Key.
Bathurst Resources is the company intending to create New Zealand's largest coal mine on public conservation land, the Denniston Plateau. The decision to grant Bathurst a resource consent is currently under appeal to the Environment Court.
The organisations are calling the opening of Denniston to mining a betrayal of the commitment Government made in 2010 to scrap mining plans in high value conservation estate. The Denniston Plateau on the West Coast is unlike any other place in New Zealand and is home to a wide range of native plants and animals, including great-spotted kiwi, geckos, and some species found nowhere else in the world. More than ninety percent of the Denniston Plateau is in public conservation land, said Forest & Bird Conservation Advocate Nicola Toki.
"New Zealanders feel like they've already had and won this argument with the Government, and would be very concerned to think that the Government is supporting an overseas company that intends to destroy one of our rare and special landscapes, full of endangered native wildlife like great-spotted kiwi."
In May 2010, over 50 000 people marched up Queen Street in Auckland to protest the Government's proposal to open up national parks and other protected areas, after which the Government executed a remarkable backdown and committed not to mine in Schedule Four areas.
Greenpeace New Zealand spokesperson Steve Abel said, “The people stood en masse and said a resounding ‘No’ to mining on high value conservation land. Ruining New Zealand’s invaluable natural heritage to expand Aussie open-cut coal production in the global era of clean energy is bad economics from every angle.
“We trade on our pure NZ reputation yet the Government is hell bent on mining, drilling, fracking and trashing that reputation for the promise of short-term economic gain. New Zealand’s and the world’s future lies in clean economies and that is why mining the unique Denniston Plateau is a step in the wrong direction.”
Kristin Gillies of Coal Action Network Aotearoa said that the Government's enthusiastic support for new and expanded coal mines throughout New Zealand showed that John Key and his Government neither knew nor cared about climate change. Our message to John Key is simple: he needs to Keep the Coal in the Hole," Kristin Gillies concluded.
After the Schedule 4 debate, the Minister of Conservation and the Minister of Energy stated in July 2010 that "significant applications to mine on public land should be publicly notified". However, in November 2011, Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson advised that the application for access to mine the fragile and unique Denniston Plateau will not be publicly notified.
The organisations are hosting a family friendly, peaceful demonstration outside the Bathurst offices at 5pm, at 1 Willeston Street, Wellington. We intend to ask the Prime Minister “What part of No Mining Pure NZ did you not understand?” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLsJWPtwYp8&list=UUAzgU8a9EvBRxaG0wUaKLiA&index=1&feature=plcp