Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage is increasingly showing how hamstrung she is as she won’t rule out new mines on conservation land and the Government’s competing coalition priorities continue to pull her in opposite directions, National’s Conservation spokesperson Sarah Dowie says.
“Today in Question Time we saw Minister Sage wavering on her commitment to the Government’s policy of no new mines on conservation land when she said that mining on stewardship land would be considered as part of policy developments,” Ms Dowie says.
“Ms Sage’s admission in the House flies in the face of her Party’s policy and is another example of NZ First walking all over the Greens.
“The Government claimed in its foundational document the Speech from the Throne that it would not allow new mining on conservation land, but given that it will be considered in future policy decisions it is clearly not off the table.
“New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals officials were recently granted access to prospect mining areas across vast areas of conservation land, in spite of the Government’s promise of no new mining on the conservation estate.
“It begs the question why the Government is allowing mining prospecting on public conservation land if it has promised to put an end to mining on the conservation estate?
“We oppose mining on high-value conservation land but New Zealand needs a pragmatic and balanced approach to the economy and the environment.
“Ms Sage vowed to remain as Minister of Conservation if new mines are approved by the Government on any of today’s conservation estate, but her own answers suggest that as per usual, the preferences of Shane Jones and NZ First may yet win out.”