More mining our protected places


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Today is the last day for submissions on Chatham Rock Phosphate’s (CRP) marine consent application to mine the seabed in a protected area, in our most productive fishery. I just got my submission in which you can read here.

This is the second seabed mining application the Environmental Protection Authority has received recently, after Trans-Tasman Resource’s (TTR) ironsands mining application was declined. TTR’s application was rejected because of uncertainty around the environmental effects and CRP’s application contains even greater uncertainties; being considerably deeper, in a significant ecosystem, and in an area where 60% of our fishing catch comes from.

The project aims to mine the seabed about 400m down to get phosphate, used for farming application. The Chatham Rise is an incredible place where oceanic currents merge, supporting a thriving fish population. If you could dive to that depth you would see massive gouges where 10,000 years ago gigantic icebergs scoured the seabed, and incredible forests of slow-growing corals. In this area, fishers’ nets aren’t allowed within 100m of the seafloor, yet Simon Bridges has happily granted a mining permit which opens up the spectre of CRP literally vacuuming up the seabed, bowling ancient corals, and depositing the sediment back, potentially leading to muddy zones where corals cannot grow again. It’s outrageous that Bridges is content to undermine the protections supposedly provided by this Benthic Protected Area. This is yet another example of National’s disregard for our treasured places, along with permitting drilling and seismic testing in the Maui’s dolphin sanctuary, and logging and mining in our conservation estate.

I care about our threatened animals like the Maui’s and think protected areas should offer protection, and am calling for a moratorium on seabed mining, the next extractive industry battle ground, until the facts can be known. The Northern Territory in Australia has already declared a moratorium, and our billion dollar fishery is too important to risk. I’m taking a stand for the places and animals we love and I hope you can join me.

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  1. I think that the phosphate may be mined eventually out of sheer desperation given the looming worldwide shortage of phosphates for fertilizer.

    • Well, Gareth has totally dropped the ball.

      What a fantastic opportunity it would have been for the greater public to see the Greens actually support a business that will IMPROVE the environment.

      The Chatham fertilizer is organic, can be applied directly on farms, is low in metals and will displace chemical fertilizers.

      It is low runoff and will help prevent red lakes in the Waikato and help improve the clean green image of NZ and the make the 100% pure slogan actually a little bit more truthful.

      Shame, shame, shame, shame on you Gareth, for selling your green sole for a cheap shot.

      • That smacks of the same “intelligence’ expressed by the US Generals who claimed they had to ‘Destroy Vietnam to save it”.

        Haven’t we, as a species, already done enough damage to the environment that actually sustains us, without blindly charging in to screw it up some more? The PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE needs to be paramount in considering activities, likely to further compromise the already massively damaged environmental.

        • Every time you open your fridge for a drink of milk or eat veges you are adding to the deterioration of some river, lake or waterway.

          You could stop eating while living in your cave, or you could wake up and realise the world and its environment needs to be improved, and that the human population is not going anywhere.

          Chatham rock is one of the most significant green initiative this country has ever seen and Gareth the politician has just jumped into the car with the fringe lunatics and left the majority of balanced green thinkers on the footpath. Talk about being on the wrong side of history.

      • What a load of twaddle.

        Using fossil fuels to mine and transport phosphate (or anything else) contributes to abrupt climate change and brings forward near term extinction via runaway greenhouse.

        Nothing in the present system is sustainable and futile attempts to keep the various Ponzi schemes going are ruining everything that matters.

  2. Hey Gareth, you’ve eaten too much dope and smoked too many mung beans mate, you must like red lakes in the Waikato because you don’t seem to like organic fertilizer

  3. Gareth, your submission to the EEZ is totally biased and does not mention, at all, the economic and environmental benefits to NZ. Where is the mention of much lower cadnium levels than imported Moroccan phosphate? How about the fact that bottom trawling is a more dangerous activity already undertaken in the area, yet conveniently ignored by your party? How about the extra billion or so dollars it will pump into economy? What about the jobs it will create for Chatham Islanders (who, funnily enough, have seen 0 jobs created by your party’s mythical “green enterprises)? What about the much lower run off levels this phosphate will create in our rivers and lakes (which you people should br SUPPORTING on principle alone!)? I could go on…

    Gareth, your submission is biased in the extreme and absolutely smacks of towing the party line come hrl or high water. You fail to even submit ANY positives that will be made by this venture and thereby show a stunning ineptness towards objective reasoning. If you were at University (I, amazingly, assume that you went there and SOMEHOW passed courses…) I would give you a D mark at best.

    Grow up, stop deceiving the people of NZ and quit being a naysayer. We are SICK of your kind and want proactive people who create jobs, not those who destroy opportunities for economic growth.


  4. The Tories are out in force on this one. Are they all Fonterra PR people who are willing to trade a fishery for a bit more milk powder? Good on ya, Gareth. We need to think about the undersea environment as much as we do about the land.

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