23 Mar 2010

Labour asks why mining plans not divulged earlier

6:14 pm on 23 March 2010

Labour Party leader Phil Goff says the National Party did not tell the public before the election that mining of protected conservation land was on the cards.

The proposals involve parts of the Coromandel Peninsula and Great Barrier Island in the North Island, and the Inangahua section of the Paparoa National Park in the South Island.

Mr Goff says while National may not have told the public about the mining, the mining industry obviously knew about it.

"I've got no doubt that they talked very closely to the mining lobbyists, they just forgot to tell New Zealanders before the election that they were going to mine the most beautiful and important recreational areas in the region."

Prime Minister John Key says National did not have enough information about the country's mineral wealth before the election to make any decisions.

The proposals cover 7058 hectares of conservation land, representing about 0.2% of protected land.

The announcement was made on Monday after the Cabinet considered a discussion document on the extent of mineral deposits in New Zealand, in particular in areas protected under Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act.