Lucy Lawless heads the March Against Mining
Lucy Lawless heads the March Against Mining

Today the Government announced a complete u-turn on plans to mine New Zealand's best conservation land. There will be no mining in Schedule 4 land or any national parks now or in the future!

This is a huge victory for the environment and for future generations. We saw the biggest protest in a generation and an avalanche of submissions. It goes to show that people power works, that when enough of us act together - we are unstoppable.

The Government’s turnaround is a heartening example of people power in action. This is a historic victory for the record number of New Zealanders who stood up to protect our most treasured places and for a vision of a truly sustainable and progressive 21st century economy for New Zealand. This is a hugely significant victory and shows the Government in no uncertain terms that New Zealanders want a better vision for the future.  We value our environment and its importance to our economy.  We don't want it sacrificed for short-term corporate profit.

It is encouraging to see John Key respond clearly to the overwhelming opposition by rejecting the most tangible example of Gerry Brownlee’s failing strategy of short term profit over long-term environmental and economic prosperity.

Prime Minister John Key must now take this turnaround to its logical conclusion, and start doing what the rest of the world is already doing - investing in the global cleantech revolution rather than in climate-damaging fossil fuels.

Clean technology represents a huge economic opportunity that New Zealand simply can’t afford to miss - a chance to achieve the sort of sustainable growth and a knowledge-led economy that will be the pillar of a 21st century green revolution. What we need from John Key’s Government is a clear commitment to investing in clean technologies.

Today we won a great victory but we can do better

There are now plans for dangerous deep-water oil drilling in NZ waters, and new coal and lignite mines.  While Schedule 4 and national parks are now safe, there remains a risk to other conservation land, our marine environment and our clean green reputation.

The Government’s plans to encourage an expansion in mining lignite coal, coupled with its proposed deepwater offshore oil drilling, are 19th century development strategies that are completely incompatible with the necessary critical action on climate change that we should be taking with the rest of the world. New coal mining and oil drilling should be ditched with the schedule 4 fiasco.

While we have the upper hand we must now call on the Government to "permanently stop all plans to open up New Zealand's coastal waters to dangerous offshore oil drilling and stop any expansion of coal mining in New Zealand, and demand a clean energy future."