In the News

Sports stars in clip to fight seabed mining

Waikato Times | 11/05/2012

Former All Black Josh Kronfeld and professional surfer Daniel Kereopa have joined a chorus of voices speaking out against possible seabed mining off the North Island’s west coast in a slick new protest video.

Kiwis Against Seabed Mining published the two-minute clip on YouTube on Tuesday and it has already been viewed more than 400 times. The emotionally charged message is told by the well-known Kronfeld and Kereopa and also children and residents of Raglan. Each person voices part of a larger message against the potential for companies to mine iron ore from the seabed.

Trans-Tasman Resources lodged two new exploration permits with NZ Petroleum and Minerals this March covering 333,090 hectares of ocean floor. The area runs along the coast from Awakino River mouth to Port Waikato, and extends 12 nautical miles out to sea. It’s also exploring the South Taranaki Bight. Its shareholders come from New Zealand and across the world, and include United States-based Denham Capital and RockCheck Trading, the investment arm of a Chinese steel company.

The applications came after extensive prospecting revealed “positive signs”, Trans-Tasman Resources spokesman Andy Sommerville said. The protest clip starts by saying the sand is a treasure for all the people of Aotearoa-New Zealand.

“Right now, foreign-owned companies are lining up to strip mine our seabed,” it says. “They want to tear over 5 billion tonnes of sand from our sea floor. “The seabed along this coast is alive with food for many of the fish that feed us.

“Such a massive upheaval will devastate marine life, destroying the home of the critically endangered Maui’s dolphin.” Kereopa says: “Our waves, shaped by this sand, but seabed mining puts them at risk.”

The clip ends with a plea to New Zealanders to stand with them against the proposal.

“With your help we can stop this.”

Mr Sommerville watched the video and said they had not done any environmental studies along the Waikato/Tainui/Maniapoto coastline. Therefore, they had no basis to make a comment.

“As a consequence of TTR’s [environmental] commitment, if any person raises environmental concerns with TTR then I’d be duty-bound to investigate those,” he said.

“Before any mining occurs TTR will need to gain all the necessary resource consents for the mining. That process assesses the environmental effect of the proposed mining and TTR will need to front up with full information to support that its proposals meets the objectives and policies in the regional coastal plan.”

During the resource-consent process, he said, the public, “KASM included”, would have a full opportunity to express its views and present evidence.

– © Fairfax NZ News