5 Jun 2015

Iwi disappointed at Maui gas field decision

7:16 pm on 5 June 2015

South Taranaki iwi Ngaruahine is disappointed that a 35-year extension has been granted for the extraction of natural gas from the Maui gas field.

Gas pipes

Photo: 123rf

The Environmental Protection Authority has granted marine consents to Shell Todd Oil Services in a decision released today.

The authority found that the overall effect of the operations at the Maui platforms, including proposed drilling, was found to be negligible to minor.

In its submissions to the authority, Ngaruahine said it would support the consents if they were granted for no longer than 15 years.

Te Korowai o Ngaruahine Trust chief executive Cassandra Crowley said the approval did not come as a surprise, given it was an existing operation and it would have been highly unlikely to have been declined.

She said the term of the consents was disappointing.

"I think the issue we had among other submitters was the imbalance in the amount of time the public had to consider the process," she said.

"Less than a month to respond to a consent that is going to impact on our environment for 35 years seems a little unbalanced."

Ms Crowley said the iwi was keen for a reduced term and wanted more recognition of the cumulative impact of the gas extraction.

"We also wanted more understanding of the Māori view point and it is really refreshing to see the acknowledgement of that in the decision."

The decision also said Shell Todd had to consult iwi at least annually.

Ms Crowley said it was something both the iwi and Taranaki whānui would work together on to make sure it was a meaningful engagement.

"I look forward to seeing what that will look like."

Ms Crowley said iwi and hapu were developing a good relationship with Shell Todd Oil on a day-to-day basis.

"Through the process we have learnt a lot about each other and I am sure we will continue to do that moving forward."

Ms Crowley said they had yet to go through the fine detail of the authority's decision.

"I think we need to read, digest and understand the report before we make any decisions."

The decision is open to appeal to the High Court, but only on points of law.

The deadline to appeal is 26 June 2015.