Despite funding a new Garnet mine, the Government’s wider mining policy is still of significant concern for the people and economy of the West Coast, National’s Energy and Resources spokesperson Jonathan Young says.
“The Prime Minister and the Regional Development Minister may have got their photo op this week by doling out some cash but people living on the West Coast know that $140 million of grants and soft loans don’t go anywhere insulating the West Coast from potential damage the Government’s policies will bring.
The existing mining footprint on the West Coast has been described as putting a single ink dot on a piece of A4 paper.
“Mining is one of New Zealand’s most productive industries and it generates jobs for West Coast communities often feel they get a rough deal from Wellington. They don’t deserve to be fobbed off with some cash from Shane Jones’ provincial slush fund.
“Shutting down new mining opportunities on the West Coast puts hundreds of jobs at risk and is a tardy way to treat law-abiding businesses that have strong rehabilitation and conservation commitments, often enhancing the land mining companies work. New Zealanders expect a lot and the mining industry respects and responds to that.
“The previous National government had determined to open up low-value Crown land, streamlining permits and consents, through establishing a one-stop-shop for permitting and consents.
“Our policy is that access to Crown land will be decided on a case by case basis and we do not support blanket bans.”