Iwi angered by approval of first seabed mining project

By Ani-Oriwia Adds
  • Wellington

Local iwi Ngāti Ruanui and Ngā Rauru Kītahi are furious seabed mining has been approved in their region. The landmark decision by the EPA allows a mining company to dredge 50 million tonnes of ironsand from the South Taranaki bight.

Chief Exec of EPA Allan Freeth said, “The decision is to grant consent in posing conditions that provide an appropriate degree of caution in particular establishing conservative environmental thresholds. It is well reasoned and carefully set out traversing a lot of evidence and submissions from a wide variety of individuals and interest groups.”

Spokesperson for Ngāti Ruanui Debbie Ngarewa-Packer says, “They were in disbelief and I guess also being very practical people they were in quite a bit of shock and couldn't really make sense that such a impractical decision could be made."

The vote was split between the deciding committee but a member of the committee used his chairman’s casting vote to create the majority decision in favor of granting the consent

Ngarewa-Packer says, “For 50% of a decision making committee to actually take the side of the community but then someone uses some ridiculous rule to push it across the line actually doesn't make anyone feel good. They don’t feel that the process is right

Ngarewa-Packer says that this now has opened the door for much more activity like this to happen to other little communities

“We will be appealing the decision into point of law, so that involves high court but you know we would have better spent our energy and our money investing into things that are making our community stronger.”

The consents commence after any appeals have been resolved