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To: The Ministers of Conservation and the Environment
Open Letter: Honour the Commitment to Protect Coromandel Conservation Land from Mining
To: Ministers of Conservation and the Environment
Hon Eugenie Sage, Hon David Parker
We are writing to remind you that the Labour Party and the Green Party have committed to supporting an extension of Schedule 4 to include the Southern Hauraki/Coromandel Conservation lands - all of the Coromandel Ecological Area. This public commitment, made on the steps of Parliament, is part of the Labour* and the Green Party's* policies for the Conservation Estate.*
We write this open letter to call on you to enact the promised extension of Schedule 4 protection to the Southern Coromandel.
We call on you to ensure that there is greater clarity around that Schedule 4 protection - that is isn't just 'skin deep' but protects these special areas from being mined from underneath also - underground mining is toxic - impacts are many, and similar to open cut including the legacy left of toxic waste, compromised waterways and permanently changed landscapes.
We call on you to refuse further access to the Conservation land at Wharekirauponga, and to decline any access for any mining purposes to all Conservation land in, on and under the Coromandel ecological zone.
The Schedule 4 area established in the 1990s by the National Government has a southern boundary at the Kopu-Hikuai Highway for political rather than ecological reasons. The conservation lands from Kopu-Hikuai to Te Aroha are equally as important as the Schedule 4 areas on the northern peninsula, and also must have protection from the damaging effects of mining.
Local communities have worked hard for several decades to extend Schedule 4 and its protections from mining, to these lands, which are well known for their significant recreational and ecological values. One petition asking to extend Schedule 4 gained 17,000 signatures.* We also want Schedule 4 to be clear - that it applies to mining in, on or under Conservation land.
Right now there is a Mining Permit application for Conservation land at Wharekirauponga - land that is habitat of the world's most endangered amphibian, the Archey's frog. This is the first Mining Permit application on the Coromandel for a long time. Right now there is 'bulk sampling' happening in Conservation land in the Karangahake Gorge - a hugely popular walking, tramping spot, with beautiful scenery and a wonderful river.
This is public land that the public are shut out of. This is conservation land that is being mined, not protected. This is a huge amount of money at stake; MBIE estimates that visitors contribute $454m each year to the combined Thames-Coromandel and Hauraki Districts.*
Please, honour those excellent commitments to extending Schedule 4, made on 8 August 2017. Ensure that this valuable conservation area is protected for the benefit of the region, the environment and the nation as a whole.
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image: an Archey's frog sitting on a bright green fern, with the words 'don't undermine me!' in the top right hand corner.
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Why is this important?
Precious conservation land in the Southern Coromandel is under increasing pressure from mining activities.
The Karangahake Gorge, an important ecological corridor and popular visitor destination, is currently being mined under a 'bulk sampling' resource consent by New Talisman Gold Mines.
Deep in the hills behind Whangamata, Oceana Gold has been busy exploring for gold in the habitat of the world's most endangered amphibian, the Archey's frog. Now they have applied for a Mining Permit, over a massive 5000ha of Conservation land.
Please sign the open letter and support the call to the Minister of Conservation and the Minister of the Environment to honour the commitment to protect this important habitat.
How it will be delivered
We are planning to deliver this letter in person in Wellington, so keep an eye on our Facebook so you can come along and support us!