We’re told no means no but since the Labour Government said no to any more mining permits in 2017, more than 70 have been given the go-ahead.
Today, Hapu and Forest and Bird joined forces in an attempt to curtail potential mining activity near Kerikeri in Northland.
To many they’re national taonga, Kauri standing tall on the edge of Te Tai Tokerau’s dense Puketi Forest. It’s tranquil, but up the top of the track local hapū are in full voice.
They, along with Forest and Bird, want accountability on an unfulfilled Government promise made six years ago – no more mining on conservation land. Protest pics
“I really feel disappointed that talk seems to be cheap with the politicians when they’ve made this really important promise.
“Here we are only a few months away from an election and yet there’s more prospecting and mining threats to important areas like this.” Dean Baigent-Mercer Northland Regional Conservation Manager Forest and Bird said.
And here in Te Tai Tokerau a new prospecting permit covering part of Puketi Forest has been granted.
“I think people are going to be quite surprised to hear about this in the first place,” Baigent-Mercer told Newshub.
Forest and Bird says new mining activities have been approved across 150,000ha of public conservation land since 2017.
As for this place? It’s of particular significance locally and nationally…
“This forest is the last remaining 1 per cent of Kauri forest in the entire country that has never been logged and now the Government has given a prospecting licence for lithium and other materials,” said Bianca Ranson of Ngāti Kahu ki Whangaroa.
And for Ranson, this is personal.
“It’s important to us because we have a lived experience and connection and whakapapa to this place that goes back hundreds and hundreds of years, it’s also a national taonga,” she told Newshub.
Hapu and Forest and Bird invited Minister of Conservation and Northlander Willow-Jean Prime here to discuss the issue, but today she was nowhere to be seen.
“The people of TTT have backed her, it’s amazing she’s now in cabinet and she has the ability to get legislation across the line so that we don’t have to keep showing up, generation after generation, to protect our whenua,” Ranson said.
The Minister is not fronting for Newshub either, our questions and interview request going unanswered but pressure on our newest Cabinet is going nowhere.