New Zealanders will have a chance to speak out against mining in their national parks, marine reserves and wildlife sanctuaries through a Green Party petition announced today.
The petition will ask the Government to halt any plans for mining New Zealand's most highly-protected land and water.
"Kiwis who care about their natural treasures can tell the National Party that they don't want mining in our most highly valued places," Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said today.
The Government has announced plans to do a 'stock take' of the mineral deposits in public conservation areas currently protected from mining in Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act. Schedule 4 areas include wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, marine reserves, and wetlands of international importance.
The Government has also instructed Crown Minerals officials to look at what areas should be taken out of Schedule 4 in order to open them up for mining.
"Even the economics of mining don't add up," Mrs Turei said. "The financial value of protected land is in the perpetual fresh water, flood protection and other ecoservices that far outweigh the one-off and environmentally-damaging mineral revenues.
"Mining would also risk thousands of Kiwi jobs that rely on our tourism industry."
The national parks, reserves and sanctuaries were also part of New Zealanders' heritage, Mrs Turei noted: "Thousands of Kiwis have invested countless volunteer hours and dollars to protect these places. That heritage should be passed on to our kids not destroyed for short term profit."
Meanwhile,the Government's search for coal and lignite was also out of step with the world's shift to renewable energy sources, Mrs Turei said.