We have asked the Coromandel candidates and the Conservation spokespeople from each party to give us clear statements on exactly where they stand on extending Schedule 4, and protecting Karangahake conservation land from mining.
We have received replies from Labour and the Greens, affirming both parties commitment to extending Schedule 4. Furthermore, the Greens have a policy of banning mining on all conservation land, nationwide. We have not heard back from National or NZ First. However, based on their responses at local candidates meetings, we do know that neither of these parties are committed to protecting the Coromandel from mining.
So, here are the responses we did get:
Scott Summerfield, Green Party candidate for Coromandel: “The Greens have pushed for years to extend schedule 4 south from the Kopu-Hikuai Road to take in all of the Coromandel ecological area, which would include all of Te Aroha in the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park and northwards. We have advanced that policy now though. We are committed to banning all mining on all conservation land, right across the country. This will stop environmental destruction through mining activity on the DOC estate and make sure that conservation land is preserved for biodiversity purposes, protecting historic sites and ensuring public recreation opportunities.”
Mojo Mathers MP, Green Party Conservation Spokesperson: “Our conservation lands are precious and need to be protected for all to enjoy, not opened up for mining or extraction. The Green Party has a proud history of standing up for conservation land. We will extend schedule 4 protection for the Coromandel as far south as Mt Te Aroha including Mt Karangahake. We will also prohibit any new exploration, prospecting and mining on or under all conservation land.”
Nathaniel Blomfield, Labour Party candidate for Coromandel: “Labour has a long history of opposing mining on the Coromandel. In the 80’s we imposed a ban on open cast mining. In the 90’s Labour MP Judith Tizard’s 1997 private members bill to ban all mining on conservation and the coast on the Coromandel Peninsula as far south as Te Aroha was passed. This forced National to pass the Schedule 4 law in 1997. But National’s law was a compromise because they just drew an arbitrary line across the peninsula – the Kopu Hikuai Road – so only DoC land north of the road was included. This was strongly opposed by Labour at that time.
In 2010, when National tried to open up schedule four land to mining on the Coromandel, Labour was at the forefront of the opposition with Labour’s “ours not mine” campaign. Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern campaigned strongly to keep Coromandel land and coast in Schedule 4. She came to the Coromandel on several occasions to support the campaign and marched up Queen Street along with 30,000 other protesters. In 2014 and again this year, Labour has a policy of extending Schedule 4 south of the Kopu Hikuai Road to include all conservation land and the coast as far south as Te Aroha. So this covers Mt Karangahake where active prospecting is occurring.
Personally I remember growing up on the Thames coast and our car having multiple Coromandel NO MINING bumper stickers on it and the no mining movement being so important to my parents! To have it still even an issue just goes to show how social issues and the interests of the people of the Coromandel have been put on the back burner by the National govt in favor of the interests of corporations.
I look forward to the Labour/Green govt after Sept 23rd finally putting this issue to rest.”
Nanaia Mahuta MP, Labour Party Conservation Spokesperson: “Labour acknowledges and values the natural heritage features of the Coromandel Peninsula. In recognition of this commitment Labour in Government will extend Schedule 4 protection from the Coromandel south to Mt Te Aroha.”