South Taranaki Iwi Celebrating Court Of Appeal Decision To Stop Seabed Mining

6 April 2020

Media release from Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Ruanui and Te Kaahui o Rauru

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Ruanui and Te Kaahui o Rauru are celebrating the decision of the Court of Appeal, announced today, to stop Trans-Tasman Resources plans for risky seabed mining off the South Taranaki Bight.

The Court of Appeal found that there were multiple overlapping errors of law in the approach adopted by the Environmental Protection Authority’s Decision-making committee, including failing to address the central question of whether granting a marine discharge consent would be consistent with the objective set out in s 10(1)(b) of the EEZ Act in relation to discharges of harmful substances: protecting the environment from pollution.

“This is an historic decision that sets a precedent that will have national and international implications. Ngāti Ruanui are celebrating this victory and we are proud to have led the campaign against seabed mining” said Ngāti Ruanui kaiarataki Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.

“This was the third time that we’ve been in the courts to stop seabed mining. As kaitiaki, we are clear that we will do whatever we can to protect our moana. Even with this decision we will need to stay vigilant, and we will be continuing the fight for a ban on seabed mining across the country.

“Seabed mining is risky and untested. Trans-Tasman Resources are wanting to use our moana in South Taranaki as a testing ground. This could have disastrous impacts on our lives, our abundant sea life, our food supply, our commercial fishermen, and the future of our tamariki.

“This permit was granted under a National government, but the current Government, which talks a big game on climate change and the environment, needs to actually deliver by taking heed of this decision and putting in place a ban on seabed mining permits in Aotearoa.

“We are proud to lead the campaign against seabed mining, in the courts and on the streets. We acknowledge our legal team including QC Richard Fowler, Justine Inns, Horiana Irwin-Easthorpe and Natalie Coates and our allies in this fight including Te Kaahui o Rauru, Kiwis Against Seabed Mining, Te Ohu Kaimoana and Greenpeace,” said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.

“We’re facing off against the seabed mining industry because we believe kaitiakitanga and environmental protection is the way forward for our people, not big overseas corporates degrading our marine environment with no local benefits,” said Te Kaahui o Rauru tumu whakarae Mike Neho.

“We are thrilled with this latest decision to reject Trans-Tasman Resource’s permit, but we will continue work to ensure that our moana and coastlines are protected for our mokopuna and generations yet to come,” said Mr Neho.