MIL-OSI New Zealand: Fast Track Legislation – You can’t trust the would-be seabed miners, KASM tells the fast track Select Committee

Recommended Sponsor - Buy Original Artwork Directly from the Artist
Source: Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM)

Companies going through the fast-track process would only give an expert panel the evidence that suits them, giving a distorted view of potential environmental impacts, and prohibiting evidence from public-facing groups would exacerbate this, Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM) told the Fast Track Bill Select Committee this morning.

“What we’re particularly concerned about is that under the processes set up by this bill, misleading statements by applicants will go unchallenged, and relevant information will not come to light,” KASM chair Cindy Baxter told the Select Committee.

KASM outlined several occasions where would-be seabed mining company Trans Tasman Resources (TTR) had misled its shareholders or the public, including claiming that it had received a “formal invitation” to apply for fast track status, a claim Minister Chris Bishop rejected.

There were other instances, for example where TTR’s 100% Australian owner Manuka Resources told investors that seabed mining would have “no impact on fish, whales or dolphins” – contrary to evidence brought by KASM from the world’s expert on the unique pygmy blue whale population living in the South Taranaki Bight.

On another occasion Manuka told investors the Supreme Court had ruled “in support of the project” of the project when the Court had done the complete opposite, quashing the consent.

“We brought expert evidence to the process that Trans Tasman Resources did not want anybody to see. It would be incredibly easy for the company to pull the wool over the eyes of an expert panel prohibited from wider consultation.  

“A company will put up evidence that suits it. After all, its future profits are at stake. And this bill will enable that to happen. No wonder they’re delighted.”

“With this legislation, the Government is clearly sending a message to industry that it considers its three Ministers have more scientific knowledge and better judgement than the provisions, processes and experts that would otherwise give evidence, and the Judges and experts that would make decisions under the EEZ Act, the RMA, the Environment Court, High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.”

KASM also pointed out that the draft legislation contravened provisions under the CTPPT, and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), under which the New Zealand EEZ Act was specifically drafted.  

“By failing to uphold minimal environmental and public participation standards, this Bill will diminish New Zealand’s international credibility and reputation, and send a message that reducing environmental and public participation standards is acceptable, where the international norm is of non-regression: environmental standards should not be rolled back,” KASM legal counsel Ruby Haazen told the Select Committee.

The group recommended the bill be rejected in its entirety.

Full submission here:

KASM’s oral submission is available on the Parliamentary Select committee website:

MIL OSI New Zealand News