Forest and Bird lead calls to end new mines on conservation land

November 2, 2022

Forest and Bird is leading calls for the Government to prevent new mines being established on conservation land.

The charitable organisation published an open letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today, supported by ten other organisations.

"In 2017, the new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern promised through the Speech from the Throne that there would be no new mines on conservation land," Forest and Bird's website reads. "This promise remains unfulfilled."

On Breakfast this morning, the charity's campaigns manager George Hobson said "this is certainly not great".

"Conservation land is an incredibly, incredibly important part of Aotearoa New Zealand, it's home to some of the most incredible species in the entire's something that belongs effectively to you, to me and to all New Zealanders, and it's vital that in fact we protect it for generations to come.

"Since that promise was made (in 2017), there have been at least 78 new mining arrangements approved on conservation land and over 150,000 hectares of conservation land have been approved for mining activities," he said.

"This is a huge problem and if we continue to allow a little bit of mining here and a little bit of mining there, what's effectively going to happen is we're going to sentence our conservation land, our incredibly important conservation land, to death by a thousand cuts."

The Crown Minerals (Prohibition of Mining) Amendment Bill, introduced by the Green Party, was drawn from Parliament's ballot box in August. It aims to prevent prospecting, exploration and mining on conservation lands and waters.

Hobson said the bill represents "a really, really exciting opportunity".

"We're asking the Prime Minister to keep her promise...and to back the bill."


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