Taranaki iwi challenges govt to deal with seabed mining
A South Taranaki iwi says the Labour-led government must do something about seabed mining permits and stop blaming the previous government.
The warning comes after revelations a mining permit in the region was granted last month.
Iwi leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer of Ngāti Ruanui says the government need to take a stand.
"We have to acknowledge that the previous government did make changes to the Crown Minerals Act, however that doesn't stop today, it doesn't restrain or constrain today's government."
Te Kotahitanga o Te Ātiawa Trust and Te Kāhui o Taranaki Trust were notified of the exploration permit application by Ironsands Offshore Mining Ltd in 2016.
Each iwi made a submission opposing the application back in that year but on 8 May 2018, news broke that the application had been granted.
The Environment Minister Eugenie Sage couldn't speak to Te Karere, but in a media statement, she said she's disappointed that the permit was issued.
"I am working hard to protect species like the Māui dolphin and am very disappointed this permit was issued. If it came across my desk - I would not have approved it. This Government has committed to no new mines on conservation land."
Ngarewa-Packer has some words of advice for the government.
"Critical to this sector is talking to iwi and being able to get an idea of exactly what's happening on the ground because I don't think that the Ministers are aware. I also don't think they're connecting their dots because there's probably not a concerted programme."
This is yet another issue the government will need to deal with.