Wednesday, 24 March 2010


We make not secret of the fact that we support discrete mining in National Parks - if thats where the gold, silver, tin, coal and rare earth minerals lie.

Now there has been a bit on nonsense reported here and there that Maori wont want a bar of the mining proposals. We have said all along that there is much Maori land butting up to National Parks and some of the sites that will be prospected.

One we know very very well is Rakiura, Stewart Island.

Rakiura became a National Park after a deal was done with Rakiura Maori Land Trust in 1999 to forgo the right to log the trees on the Lords River Blocks. The trustees got about $11 million and the land was managed " as if it were a National Park. " It then formed the anchor and the argument for the rest of Stewart Island to become a National Park.

So we are hoping like the trustees of the past deal who made the best of a once in a lifetime opportunity that the new Rakiura Trustees are open minded to the possibility of mining the Lords River and some of the other land parcels under their guardianship.

What needs to happen is that the Trustees need to talk to the government about checking out what lies beneath Trust land. The Waitutu Incorporation and some of the other Maori Trusts in the Catlins and western Southland and Hokonui and Waimumu need to think about the opportunities as well.

The best decisions are made with the most facts at hand.
Piggy backing on the governments prospecting seems a sensible thing to do.

To completely disregard the opportunity would be to disenfranchise future generations of Rakiura beneficiaries.To say no before all the facts are known would be a travesty as the trustees are obliged to ensure that all opportunities are explored, analysed and tested.

And the current trustees need not fear the wrath of the Mayors. They did not like the Lords River deal much either until they were made to understand that what was good for Rakiura Maori was good for all of Southland.

This is an opportunity that must be seized upon. There are risks but the rewards could be great.

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