The ban would lead to a raft of unintended consequences
The issues surrounding a blanket ban on conservation land are multi-faceted and, to some extent, complex. There is a lot at stake for no commensurate benefit.
Some of the unintended consequences of the proposed ban include (and are by no means limited to):
Reduced access to aggregates, particularly on the West Coast, impacting the ability to build and maintain roads, flood defences and more. 81% of the West Coast is conservation land. There simply is not the access to these vital resources only relying on mining the 19%. This irony was brought home recently by DOC needing to quarry conservation land for a track at Franz Joseph Glacier.
Reduced pounamu recovery. We understand an ‘exemption’ for pounamu may be being considered. We note, however, that most pounamu is recovered in association with other minerals, particularly alluvial gold, so this would be a “Clayton’s” exemption.
Significantly reduced revenue from royalties and land access fees – the latter being particularly important because these fees are used by DOC to fund a range of activities, including improvements to the conservation estate.
Mining provides critical mass that supports the West Coast transportation infrastructure; the rail link from the West to East Coast in particular. The proposed ban would, over time, reduce exports and threaten the viability of the rail link.
The 8 arguments against the ban (click each argument to see more detail).