Gum scheme faces hur­dle

The Northland Age - - Front Page -

A plan to ex­tract valu­able waxes and resins peat wet­land at Kaimau­mau, that Ngai Takoto hopes will help se­cure its eco­nomic fu­ture, may be blocked by the govern­ment.

Her­itage NZ also has con­cerns about the North­land Re­gional Coun­cil con­sent granted to Auck­land firm Resin & Wax Hold­ings to work about 10 per cent of the more than 4000ha wet­land, given the pres­ence of his­toric sites rang­ing from an old radar sta­tion to the re­mains of gumdig­ger camps and mid­dens.

Conservati­on Min­is­ter Eu­ge­nie Sage is now seek­ing le­gal advice be­fore pos­si­bly ap­peal­ing the con­sent.

The peat min­ing area was ad­ja­cent to conservati­on land, the Kaimau­mau-Mo­tu­tangi wet­land com­plex, which was na­tion­ally sig­nif­i­cant be­cause of its size and the mo­saic of wet­land and dune ridges, she said, sup­port­ing rare and threat­ened plants, rep­tiles and birds. It was also one of the few wet­land ar­eas left in New Zealand.

“On­go­ing wet­land loss is a sig­nif­i­cant con­cern to me, given that only 10 per cent of New Zealand’s wet­lands re­main,” Ms Sage added.

“Peat min­ing risks sig­nif­i­cant ad­verse ef­fects on conservati­on val­ues and wet­land func­tion­ing in and be­yond the ap­pli­ca­tion area. These in­clude the frag­men­ta­tion or loss of habi­tats for threat­ened species, such as some rare orchids.

“It is dis­ap­point­ing that the coun­cil chose not to no­tify the ap­pli­ca­tion to al­low pub­lic sub­mis­sions, or con­sider DoC as neigh­bour­ing land­holder as an af­fected party,” she added.

“It’s al­ways good in Re­source Man­age­ment Act de­ci­sions to have in­for­ma­tion from a range of sources, as views will of­ten dif­fer on bio­di­ver­sity val­ues, and sources may dif­fer on the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact and the hy­drol­ogy.”

She had been ad­vised that DoC was re­view­ing the con­sent con­di­tions to de­ter­mine if they would ad­e­quately man­age the ef­fects of min­ing.

Te Ru­nanga o Ngai Takoto CEO Ran­gi­tane Mars­den, who has de­scribed the ven­ture as a big win that would help se­cure the iwi’s eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal fu­ture by pro­vid­ing jobs and op­por­tu­ni­ties for its peo­ple, said the area to be mined was es­sen­tially a “wat­tle farm” with toxic soil.

“We knew the farm re­quired a lot of work to bring it back into any kind of state that it could be used to pro­vide any eco­nomic ben­e­fit, but the en­vi­ron­ment is a big part of our kau­papa, and that had to be a pri­mary fo­cus,” he said.

FIRST PRI­OR­ITY: Ran­gi­tane Mars­den — the en­vi­ron­ment is Ngai Takoto’s pri­mary fo­cus.

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