23 May 2010

Conservation group criticises NZ Govt mining plans

2:51 pm on 23 May 2010

The New Zealand branch of the world's largest conservation network has criticised the Government's plan to allow mining in protected areas.

The deadline for submissions on the Government's proposals to remove Schedule 4 protection from some conservation land close on Thursday.

In its submission, the New Zealand arm of the International Union for Conservation of Nature says this country has been able to hold its head high because of its clear protections against mining, but removing those protections will damage the country's reputation.

The organisation says economic benefits of mining the land have been grossly overstated.

The union wrote to the Prime Minister last month to object strongly to proposals to remove protection from 7000 hectares of land, including part of a national park.

Mining royalties 'inadequate' - survey

Meanwhile, a survey indicates New Zealanders believe royalties paid by mining companies are inadequate.

The poll of 2,215 people was conducted by lobby group Business Council for Sustainable Development.

The Council says mining companies pay the Government a royalty of about 2% on profits from the sale of gold and other precious metals mined in New Zealand.

The majority of people questioned thought royalties need to be considerably higher than at present before mining is allowed on Schedule 4 land of the Conservation Estate.

And 51% said they did not trust mining companies to fully restore Schedule 4 land after mining had finished.

The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.1%.