On the final day of public submissions on a seabed mining application in the South Taranaki Bight, Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM) said a record number of people had voiced their opposition to the proposal.
Submissions to the EPA on Trans Tasman Resources’ bid to dig up 50 million tonnes a year of the South Taranaki Bight seabed – for 35 years – close at 5pm today, after having opened in mid-September.
“Between KASM and Greenpeace, we are confident we will reach a record number of at least 17,000 submissions against this destructive proposal,” said Phil McCabe, KASM Chairperson.
“Last time Trans Tasman Resources tried – and failed – to gain approval for a similar proposal, the EPA received more than 4,600 submissions against it – which was a record at that time. We have blown that record out of the water, proving that opposition to seabed mining has grown exponentially,” he said.
The EPA has had to extend the public submission period twice. The first time was because the local Iwi, Ngati Ruanui, objected to the company’s Cultural Impact Assessment process, and the EPA had to extend submissions by a month.
In November, KASM, along with Talley’s Fisheries and Ngati Ruanui, successfully challenged the EPA in the Environment Court on its decision to redact hundreds of pages of the company’s application. The EPA was forced to add another month to the public submission period.
“Our focus now turns to the expert evidence against this proposal, and the hearing itself. We cannot let this proposal go ahead, as it would create a precedent for other mining proposals, not only on the North Island’s West Coast, but also a proposal off Waihi Beach.
“New Zealand would be the first place in the world to allow seabed mining on such a large scale, but it’s very clear this flies in the face of public opinion,” said McCabe.
Other objectors to the proposal include the ITM Fishing Show’s Matt Watson, recreational fisheries organisations such as LegaSea, and environmental groups including Greenpeace, Forest & Bird, WWF and the Environment and Conservation Organisations (ECO).