Chalking Nick in Nelson

by frog

Chalking the opinion of many on the streets of Nelson this morning…

No Mining

A National Government created Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act in 1997 to protect National Parks from mining.

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The Government wants to mine in Kahurangi National Park, a Park created by National while Nick Smith was Conservation Minister and proudly opened in 1996 by Jim Bolger.

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So, why does Nick Smith support this move?

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Here is Nick’s 1997 speech [not online] when the Schedule was created:

Thursday, November 20, 1997

Hon. NICK SMITH (Minister of Conservation): In rising to support the third reading of the Bill, I draw the House’s attention to the significance of the final stages of the passage of this legislation. …

This Bill at long last puts some pegs in the sand in some very significant areas of New Zealand and says to the mining industries of New Zealand: “These are no-go areas.”

I draw the House’s attention this afternoon to just how significant that range of areas is. First, we have all those areas that are national parks: areas such as the Abel Tasman National Park, and the national parks of Arthur’s Pass, Egmont, Fiordland, Kahurangi, Mount Aspiring, Mount Cook, Nelson Lakes, Paparoa, Tongariro, Te Urewera, Westland, and Whanganui. Those areas total over 3 million hectares of land. This legislation says to the mining industries that those areas set aside as national parks are not appropriate areas for mining.

If one picks up the National Parks Act and sees the quite prohibitive range of activities that is permitted to go on in those areas, one realises that it is certainly consistent with those activities to say that mining should not occur in those areas. In effect, this legislation we are about to pass sets and strengthens that National Parks Act, which dates back to 1980.

This legislation goes further than just national parks. Areas around New Zealand have been set aside as nature reserves, scientific reserves, wilderness areas, sanctuaries, and wildlife sanctuaries. There are areas that have been set aside as Ramsar sites, in terms of the convention on wetlands and highly migratory birds, as well as those areas in the Coromandel that the Alliance member Jeanette Fitzsimons has mentioned. This Bill sets out quite clearly very significant areas of conservation estate in which mining is not allowed. That is something that this House should welcome.

In 1990 National’s manifesto committed it to going down this route. …. the commitment that was made in 1990 to ban mining in national parks was a significant one. … the Bill does provide a mechanism, which has been improved in the Committee stage, whereby additional areas can be added to those that will be provided for in the mining ban.

I also wish to make comment about my New Zealand First colleagues and their attitude to this Bill. Members will note that the coalition agreement specifically mentions the banning of mining in national parks. Again, I would draw to the attention of this House that the Government is honouring a further clause of the coalition agreement by advancing this legislation.

Environmental groups—the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society, the Maruia Society, and groups in the Coromandel—have pushed for this legislation for a very long time. I welcome its progress. I want to make reference to the cooperative way in which members on both sides of the House have worked to progress this legislation. ….

This is landmark legislation for the conservation movement in New Zealand. I welcome the Bill’s progress and, as Minister of Conservation, look forward to not having to consider mining applications in those areas where nature should be able to rule the roost.

What’s changed, Nick?

Mining

Thursday, November 20, 1997
Hon. NICK SMITH (Minister of Conservation): In rising to support the third reading of the Bill, I draw the House’s attention to the significance of the final stages of the passage of this legislation. The role of mining in New Zealand has been a controversial issue right from the last century, when mining was given preferred status as a land use. In fact, if we look at the history in the West Coast, Otago, or Nelson regions, we see that miners were put on a pedestal. Rights of access to land would be given to them over and above rights being given to other persons.

Over the last decade we have seen a number of pieces of significant legislation that effectively bring mining activities into line with other land uses, be they tourism, farming, or other sorts of land use. In 1991 we saw the passage of the Crown Minerals Act. That was landmark legislation, in that it stated at long last that miners could not walk on to private property and trample all over those private property owners’ rights. They had to get the consent of the landowners.

However, at that time the issue of conservation land, which makes up about one-third of the land of New Zealand, was left in abeyance. This Bill at long last puts some pegs in the sand in some very significant areas of New Zealand and says to the mining industries of New Zealand: “These are no-go areas.”

I draw the House’s attention this afternoon to just how significant that range of areas is. First, we have all those areas that are national parks: areas such as the Abel Tasman National Park, and the national parks of Arthur’s Pass, Egmont, Fiordland, Kahurangi, Mount Aspiring, Mount Cook, Nelson Lakes, Paparoa, Tongariro, Te Urewera, Westland, and Whanganui. Those areas total over 3 million hectares of land. This legislation says to the mining industries that those areas set aside as national parks are not appropriate areas for mining.

If one picks up the National Parks Act and sees the quite prohibitive range of activities that is permitted to go on in those areas, one realises that it is certainly consistent with those activities to say that mining should not occur in those areas. In effect, this legislation we are about to pass sets and strengthens that National Parks Act, which dates back to 1980.

This legislation goes further than just national parks. Areas around New Zealand have been set aside as nature reserves, scientific reserves, wilderness areas, sanctuaries, and wildlife sanctuaries. There are areas that have been set aside as Ramsar sites, in terms of the convention on wetlands and highly migratory birds, as well as those areas in the Coromandel that the Alliance member Jeanette Fitzsimons has mentioned. This Bill sets out quite clearly very significant areas of conservation estate in which mining is not allowed. That is something that this House should welcome.

In 1990 National’s manifesto committed it to going down this route. I accept it has been—

Judith Tizard: What about the surcharge?

Hon. NICK SMITH: Yes, and I have to say that the commitment that was made in 1990 to ban mining in national parks was a significant one. While the member Judith Tizard may chuckle away, I have to say that in 6 years of Labour Administration no move was made on this issue. That is partly, as I am sure she will acknowledge, because there are substantial interests that the member for the West Coast would have about ecological areas. It has been a highly contentious issue in the select committee as to which areas and classifications of land would be included in this mining ban and which would not. What is more, the Bill does provide a mechanism, which has been improved in the Committee stage, whereby additional areas can be added to those that will be provided for in the mining ban.

I also wish to make comment about my New Zealand First colleagues and their attitude to this Bill. Members will note that the coalition agreement specifically mentions the banning of mining in national parks. Again, I would draw to the attention of this House that the Government is honouring a further clause of the coalition agreement by advancing this legislation.

Environmental groups—the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society, the Maruia Society, and groups in the Coromandel—have pushed for this legislation for a very long time. I welcome its progress. I want to make reference to the cooperative way in which members on both sides of the House have worked to progress this legislation. I specifically want to mention Christine Fletcher, from National, who has had particular passions about the area of Coromandel, as has the Labour member Judith Tizard. I also want to mention the previous Minister of Energy, Doug Kidd, who was very much involved in the brokering of this legislation and in finding the way through the different areas, and in deciding how they might be treated.

This is landmark legislation for the conservation movement in New Zealand. I welcome the Bill’s progress and, as Minister of Conservation, look forward to not having to consider mining applications in those areas where nature should be able to rule the roost.

frog says

Published in Environment & Resource Management by frog on Tue, October 27th, 2009   

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