Mayors say anti-mining petition ill-informed
Updated at 4:35 pm on 21 July 2012
West Coast mayors have hit back at almost 10,000 people who have signed an anti-mining petition, telling them they are misinformed.
The petition opposes mining on the Denniston Plateau, near Westport.
Perth-based Bathurst Resources received resource consent in August last year to mine six million tonnes of coal on the plateau, but that is now subject to appeals.
Labour MP Phil Twyford received the petition outside the venue of the National Party's annual conference in Auckland, after Prime Minister John Key declined to accept it.
He says the Denniston Plateau is part of a category of land which the Government needs to define so that mining companies know which areas are suitable for mining and which need protecting.
But both Buller District mayor Pat McManus and Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn say activists wrongly claim that the area is pristine, whereas it has been mined for more than a century.
Mr McManus is appalled the Labour MP accepted the petition and says he, and those who have signed the document, are ill-informed.
Mr Twyford says the Denniston Plateau is part of a category of land which the Government needs to define so that mining companies know which areas are suitable for mining and which need protecting.
An appeal by environmental groups Forest & Bird and the West Coast Environment Network against Bathurst Resources' consent is to be heard in October in the Environment Court.
The High Court will hear an appeal on climate change issues in July.
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