The idea of setting up a marine mammal sanctuary in the South Taranaki Bight was today welcomed by Kiwis Against Seabed Mining, who have also been calling for a moratorium on the destructive practice in New Zealand.
“Scientists are just confirming now that the South Taranaki Bight is a habitat for a substantial blue whale population, yet the Environmental Protection Authority has given the go-ahead for a major seabed mining operation there,” said Cindy Baxter, KASM chairperson.
“We have been calling on the Government to set up a moratorium on seabed mining, as it is very clear that the potential impact is unknown,” she said, “but this has been ignored.”
The Green Party, which has proposed the sanctuary, appears to be one of only two parties with a clear policy on seabed mining ahead of the elections.
Today the Maori Party candidate for the Te Tai Hauāuru electorate, Howie Tamati has stated that he supports both a seabed mining moratorium and a marine mammal sanctuary for the Bight.
* The National Government has been promoting the industry, awarding Trans Tasman Resources an innovation grant of up to $25 million. The retiring MP for Whanganui, Chester Borrows, says he was against the proposal.
* The Labour Party has no policy on seabed mining.
* New Zealand First has no policy on seabed mining.
* The Opportunities Party says it favours caution, calling first for a spatial planning exercise to be undertaken. However, their Bay of Plenty candidate Buddy Mikaere carried out a cultural impact assessment for seabed mining company Trans Tasman Resources where he declared there would be no negative cultural impact, despite overwhelming opposition from all the local Iwi. Mining company Pacific Offshore Mining Limited has applied for a seabed mining exploration permit for a 123 sqkm area of the seabed off Waihi Beach in the Bay of Plenty where there is a protest happening today.
“Since the EPA gave consent for seabed mining in the South Taranaki Bight, we have seen an overwhelming wave of outrage from across the country – and not just from Taranaki,” said Cindy Baxter. “There are many more areas where companies want to mine the seabed, yet there is still little known about the impact.”
“We call on all parties to make their policies clear on this destructive industry. People want to know.”