An advocacy group opposed to seabed mining has accused the government of “deliberately misinterpreting” a draft bill aimed at banning the industry from New Zealand waters.
Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM) said in a statement today that the government was “failing the tens of thousands who have opposed the destructive industry”.
The bill, introduced by Te Pāti Māori’s Debbie Ngarewa-Packer in Parliament today, was voted down by all parties except TPM and the Greens.
While the bill included a retrospective clause to remove existing seabed mining permits, Environment Minister David Parker reportedly claimed that it would ban oil and gas drilling in the South Taranaki Bight.
“The government today wilfully misled the public by deliberate misinterpreting the bill, trying to argue it could cut off gas supplies, which is complete nonsense,” said KASM chair Cindy Baxter.
She said the minister knew that his government could “easily have tightened the bill’s language” in select committee.
It could also have gone on to ban “this incredibly destructive industry” from New Zealand’s waters.
“Protecting the ocean from seabed mining has nothing to do with our energy supply,” Baxter said.
“it’s about ensuring our ocean ecosystems are in a healthy state to help protect us from climate change, and to ensure the coming generations of our coastal communities can continue to fish, to surf, to collect kaimoana.”
The government has not immediately responded.
KASM said in its statement that it would continue to fight any seabed mining efforts.
The seabed miner Trans Tasman Resources has until next Friday, May 19, to lodge its reapplication with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).