Macraes’ Mine: Clean And Green Versus Dirty Development
Forest and Bird says that by declining the GRD Macraes’ mine, the Minister of Conservation has assisted the Government
make a strategic decision in support of a “clean and green” development path for New Zealand.
A report recently released by the Ministry for the Environment indicates that the “clean and green” image is worth
hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars to the New Zealand economy.
“The clean, green image is becoming increasingly important to the New Zealand economy,” said Eric Pyle, Forest and
Bird’s Conservation Manager. “Hard rock mining could place this image at risk”.
In the last year there were at least four tailings dam failures in Europe and North America. “Over $33 million has so
far been spent trying to fix a tailings dam near Waihi in the Coromandels - and it still may not be fixed. Tailings dams
do pose a risk to the environment,” said Mr Pyle.
Recent economic development on the West Coast shows that New Zealand’s future prosperity lies with pursuing a “clean
green” path. “The West Coast has the second highest rate of economic growth of any region in New Zealand,” said Mr Pyle.
“Tourism development based on the region’s environmental assets is likely to be more economically beneficial in the long
term and create more jobs. The Macraes’ mine could damage the environmental values that the fast-growing West Coast
tourism sector is dependent on”.
New Zealand needs to make some strategic decisions about its future economic direction. “We can’t have dirty development
and “clean green” development simultaneously. Choices must be made,” said Mr Pyle. “This Macraes’ decision helps protect
the value of the “clean green” image to New Zealand’s future prosperity”.