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‘Shane Jones recusal from seabed mining shows corruption of fast track process’

The recusal of Resources and Oceans Minister Shane Jones from being involved in a government decision on a possible seabed mining application under the new fast-track legislation is evidence of how corrupt the process is, say environment and community groups today.

“That Jones finds himself caught between two industry lobby groups is highly disturbing and exposes the corruption behind the Government’s new fast-track consenting process. The mining industry got seabed mining for vanadium into the NZ First coalition agreement purely because it lobbied earlier,” said Cindy Baxter, chairperson of Kiwis Against Seabed Mining.

“Now, Shane Jones has essentially had to admit that seabed mining is a threat to the oceans – but he’s done it for all the wrong reasons – simply because another lobby group has gotten to him first, or made him a better offer. Whomever lobbies hardest wins. Is this the way we should be deciding on potentially hugely damaging projects like seabed mining?”

Greenpeace spokesperson Amanda Larsson says, “It’s telling that Shane Jones was backing seabed mining up until the point he realised that the fishing interests behind his campaign oppose it. This is a clear sign that the proposed fast-track bill is incredibly vulnerable to corporate lobbying.

“Nobody wants a dead and empty ocean. We all want to be able to catch a fish for dinner, swim, surf and enjoy thriving, healthy oceans both now and into the future. We need to prioritise the health of the ocean over short-term economic interests.”

At least 100 people gathered outside the TSB Hub in Hawera this morning, where the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is reconsidering Trans Tasman Resources’ bid to mine the South Taranaki Bight for iron ore (and vanadium). The hearing will continue until Friday and resume again next month.

KASM/Greenpeace submissions will start tomorrow afternoon (livestream here). 

 

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