Over 35,000 New Zealanders urge Prime Minister to ban seabed mining

More than 35,000 New Zealanders have signed a petition calling on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to ban seabed mining in waters off the coast of New Zealand.

The signatures were gathered by Greenpeace, Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM), Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC), Environment & Conservation Organisations of Aotearoa New Zealand (ECO), LegaSea, Forest & Bird, WWF and Te Pāti Māori.

“Seabed mining is a highly destructive industry that bulldozes the seafloor, releasing carbon and harming the ocean and the creatures who call it home,” said Greenpeace campaigner James Hita. “We’re calling on the government to ban seabed mining in the waters of Aotearoa immediately.”

Source: Greenpeace

The protestors stated that they had successfully stalled seabed mining operations so far, but the door remains open to mining companies, thus the government must ban seabed mining to protect the health of the ocean.

KASM chair Cindy Baxter said: “Over the past decade, with the support of thousands of people, we’ve successfully fought off three applications to mine the seabed in Aotearoa’s waters, and we’ve won. We had to take it all the way to the Supreme Court, which has now quashed the 2017 Environmental Protection Authority’s green light to Trans Tasman Resources (TTR) to mine the South Taranaki Bight.” 

According to Baxter, throughout this process, it has become abundantly clear that this activity cannot take place in waters without causing irrevocable harm as it threatens biodiversity, from the pygmy blue whales in the South Taranaki Bight to Māui dolphins and the little blue penguin, and it is time for the government to draw a line in the seabed and ban the activity altogether.

“The New Zealand Government has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stop this dangerous industry before it starts. Banning seabed mining here would protect the oceans of Aotearoa and set a strong precedent to support the efforts of our Pacific neighbours who are opposing deep sea mining in the Pacific and around the world,” Hita concluded.

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