National issues mineral mining permits in Maui’s sanctuary
The Government has issued mineral mining permits in one third of the endangered Maui’s dolphin sanctuary, the Green
Party has revealed today.
This follows revelations that permits have also been issued for oil exploration in the sanctuary.
There have been 254 Maui’s sightings within the areas where the mineral mining permits have been granted.
“This is another yet example of National sacrificing the last remaining 55 Maui’s dolphins in order to give the mining
industry a leg-up, and showing a total disregard for the things New Zealanders care about,” said Green Party oceans
spokesperson Gareth Hughes.
“This is National’s pollution economy writ large, when what we need is an economy that is greener, smarter and fairer.”
The permits, five of which have been granted within the North Island Marine Mammal Sanctuary, are for a range of
minerals, but all include ironsand.
“Mining and Maui’s don’t mix,” said Mr Hughes. “The dolphins’ habitat would be degraded as a result of noise and
pollution and there’s a risk they’d be displaced into areas where they have no protection.
“The future survival of the Maui’s dolphin is already bleak – there are only 55 left in the world. Mineral mining will
push them closer to extinction.
“Nick Smith said in Parliament that it was fine to have issued oil exploration permits in the Maui’s sanctuary because
no Maui’s had been sighted in the area in question.
“He was wrong then and he definitely cannot say the same here. There have been 254 Maui’s sightings in the areas in
which they’ve issued permits.
“This is the world’s most endangered dolphin we are talking about here. We should be doing everything we can to protect
them. National is doing the exact opposite.
“Less than two months ago, the International Whaling Commission issued a call for greater protection for Maui’s, yet
National has opened up their so-called “sanctuary” for mining.
“The Green Party is committed to protecting our precious oceans and wildlife. As part of that, we would not allow any
foreshore or seabed mining in the Maui’s habitat.
“We would ensure that the Maui’s sanctuary is exactly that – a sanctuary that gives these beautiful creatures a genuine
chance of survival.”
See attached map for overlap of Maui’s sanctuary and mineral permits, along with sightings.