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Waihi mine set for expansion as Government approves 180 hectare land sale

An application by mining company OceanaGold to buy 180 hectares of farm land near the Waihi mines has been approved after it was originally declined earlier this year.

The new decision was made after the applications were considered by Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Associate Minister of Finance David Parker, a statement from Mr Robertson said today.

Previously the company’s applications were considered by Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage and Associate Finance Minister David Clark. However there was a split decision where the two disagreed and as such the application was declined.

In August 2019, Land Information New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office (OIO) received two new applications from OceanaGold to buy the parcels of farm land totalling approximately 180 hectares near its current Waihi mines.

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Green Party’s Eugenie Sage initially rejected the application on environmental concerns, but her decision has been overturned. Source: 1 NEWS

Under the Overseas Investment Act, ministers have to assess whether applications will result in substantial and identifiable benefit to New Zealand.

As such Mr Roberston and Mr Parker considered the investment will benefit New Zealand because of the retention of about 340 full-time jobs over nine years and exports valued at $2 billion over nine years.

The Ministers noted that they are required to assess only the benefits described in the Overseas Investment Act when making their decision.

OceanaGold needs resource consent from the Hauraki District Council before it can begin operations on the land.

The approval to purchase the land does not imply that the Crown either supports or opposes this RMA application.

National’s Economic Development spokesperson Todd McClay says the decision should never have been turned down and Eugenie Sage should be stripped of her portfolio.

“Eugenie Sage has repeatedly let her Green Party ideology get in the way of making good decisions. The decision to override her is a vote of no confidence in the Greens and shows how unstable the coalition is. 

“Ms Sage declined the expansion of the Waihi mine saying it was ‘inherently unsustainable, will increase emissions, and will provide only moderate employment benefits relative to winding down the operation and remediating the site.

“Now that the Waihi Mine expansion has been agreed, Ms Sage must now remove her objections to the West Coast Hydro Scheme and let this project go ahead also," he says.

“National would make rational decisions, bring back certainty to businesses and inject confidence back into the business sector. The Prime Minister needs to show some leadership and take this portfolio off the Greens.”



Waihi mine (file picture). Source: istock.com