|Not a member? Sign up now!|
New Zealanders are right to be cautious about the Government's mining plans because they pose serious environmental and economic risks, the Green Party said today.
"New Zealanders will rightly consider what is being mined, how it is being mined and where it is being mined before supporting the Government's agenda," said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.
Mrs Turei was responding to a poll conducted by the New Zealand Herald which found that 39.8% of those questioned cautiously supported the Government's aim to increase oil, gas and mineral exploration. A further 30.4% of respondents were strongly opposed or leaned towards opposing the Government's mining agenda.
"Many of the Government's mining projects are bad for the environment, risky and dangerous," said Mrs Turei.
"New Zealanders don't want a Deepwater Horizon-type oil spill, but the Government is tendering for deep sea oil permits in wilder seas than in the Gulf of Mexico, in areas with much heavier oils, despite having fewer resources to deal with a spill.
"Fracking has caused groundwater contamination in Taranaki, and has caused health concerns around the globe, sparking bans in several places.
"The Government is encouraging coal projects which would contribute to run-away climate change, including coal mining on the DOC estate at the magnificent Denniston Plateau.
"State-owned energy company Solid Energy's suite of lignite coal projects in Southland would raise our overall greenhouse gas emissions about 20 per cent. This will have a big price tag for taxpayers.
"The Government doesn't need to resort to risky fossil fuel extraction when we have a wealth of smart green energy opportunities that will deliver real prosperity.
"For example, instead of selling off the best of our last remaining SOEs we can keep them and refocus their largely domestic operations towards booming renewable energy export markets abroad.
"Mining is not the future for the New Zealand economy; we can create tens of thousands of new, clean technology jobs here at home, if we're smart," said Mrs Turei.