By Phil McCabe    

Tena Koutou

 After a five-year journey in the driver’s seat of KASM, I stood down from the role of Chairperson and from the committee at last week’s AGM. Sam Nobs, Treasurer of the last two years, also made way for fresh faces to join the committee.

 Cindy Baxter, of Piha, was voted in as the new Chairperson along with three new committee members, Hannah Slade of Piha and Heather Cunningham and Mike Moss of Raglan, with Mike taking on the role of Treasurer. Long standing members, June Penn (Secretary), Malibu Hamilton, Paulina Sawdowska and Chris Wilkes remained to maintain good depth of knowledge and abilities on the eight-person KASM committee.

KASM chairperson Phil McCabe
Phil McCabe

 Cindy has been a KASM committee member for four years and has stayed very close to the issue as our media and communications person throughout her time. As a Piha resident, a daily beach walker and a long time campaigner on environmental issues, Cindy is not only committed to the protection of New Zealand’s marine environment from destructive seabed mining proposals, but is well equipped to lead KASM through the next phase of its journey.

 It’s been a very busy five years. I’m so proud of what we’ve managed to achieve – seeing off the first two applications to mine the seabed. Our support has grown enormously – we now have nearly 12,000 followers on facebook, and I’ve felt that support from all of you, every step of the way.  

I gave my notice to the KASM committee well ahead of the recent EPA decision, after deliberating long and hard. There is still a great deal of work to be done, but I depart the committee feeling very confident that KASM is in good hands.

This week KASM will lodge its High Court Appeal Notice. I intend to remain involved in that process offering assistance where I can so that the strongest case possible is put forward and carried through to overturn what we consider was a flawed decision by the EPA’s decision making committee earlier this month, giving consent for Trans Tasman Resources’ consent to mine 50 million tonnes of seabed every year for 35 years.

 KASM will challenge that decision to the ends of the earth: of that, I am certain.

 In the short term I look forward to seeing the further advancement of the issue into mainstream consciousness as seabed mining and our oceans more generally become an important election issue over the next month.

 It is important that appropriate policies are put in place to ensure meaningful protections for New Zealand’s oceans. KASM will need to be a major driving force in that process. And each of you have a role to play in that by attending candidate meetings and asking where candidates and their parties stand.

 The first action I took with KASM was in March 2012.

 Along with a couple hundred other ocean lovers, I led a silent protest through the streets of Raglan, converging on the one-way bridge to confront a seabed mining executive from TTR.

 Before we began our walk I invited those present to take a moment to recall special times spent in, on or beside the ocean. To have in mind, the many life forms that exist in our marine environment, for if the activity of seabed mining is permitted to go forward on the scale that is proposed, there is no guarantee that these things will remain when it is done.

Phil addresses a crowd in Raglan.
Phil addresses a crowd in Raglan.

 There were many people present and from vastly diverse backgrounds. By anchoring our action in our love of the oceans, the protest that day was a profound experience for all involved.

 We boldly yet entirely peacefully confronted the company executive delivering an unequivocal message … “We LOVE our Marine Environment, we are here, we are strong, you will not take our sand.”

 This is where I’ve always returned whenever I felt unsure about how to be, what to do.

 While the workload has been real, my time with KASM has been a profoundly rich personal experience and I thank you all for trusting and supporting me in this role.

 Kia kaha!

Nga mihi aroha ki a koutou.