Well it was about time for a bit of good news on the environmental front wasn’t it?
Today Metiria’s Bill to make it harder to mine in Schedule 4 land was drawn from the ballot, just in time for Earth Day and our series of “Love it, don’t mine it” events around the country.
The Crown Minerals (Protection of Public Conservation Land Listed in the Fourth Schedule) Bill is a bit of a mouthful, but what it does is simple.
At the moment, to allow mining on our most protected conservation land, the Government has to remove land from Schedule 4 by Order in Council (meaning it doesn’t need to pass the changes through Parliament). (Incidentally, the fact that they even have to consult the public to do this is thanks to the foresight of former Green MP and Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons, who saw something like this coming back in the 90s).
At the end of the day, Gerry Brownlee and his buddies could choose to ignore the 8,000 plus submissions against mining in Schedule 4 and go ahead and make the changes anyway.
Metiria’s Bill would mean that any changes to Schedule 4 would have to be passed by an Act of Parliament, making it harder to mess with our most protected places, and meaning there would be a full and transparent debate and a chance for the changes to be considered by a Select Committee.
It would be a great step towards entrenching the protection of our precious places. The Nats created Schedule 4 and declared the areas in it ‘no-go’ areas for mining: now they have a chance to restore their credibility.
Happy Earth Day everybody!