A petition signed by over 35,000 New Zealanders calling on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to ban seabed mining in Aotearoa was delivered in Pōneke (Wellington) today, celebrating World Ocean Day by standing up for the seafloor.
Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM) and Greenpeace Aotearoa presented the petition to Green Party MP Eugenie Sage and Te Pāti Māori co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer at Te Whare Paremata (Parliament), surrounded by iwi and volunteer groups including Ngāti Ruanui, Oceanic Voices, the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) and Environment & Conservation Organisations of Aotearoa New Zealand (ECO).
The signatures were gathered by Greenpeace, KASM, DSCC, ECO, LegaSea, Forest & Bird, WWF and Te Pāti Māori.
“Seabed mining is a highly destructive industry that bulldozes the seafloor, releasing carbon and harming the ocean and the creatures who call it home,” says Greenpeace Aotearoa campaigner James Hita.
“We’re calling on the government to ban seabed mining in the waters of Aotearoa immediately.
“Valiant efforts from iwi and grassroot groups have successfully stalled seabed mining operations so far, but the door remains open to mining companies. The government must ban seabed mining to protect the health of the ocean that connects and nourishes us,” says Hita.
KASM Chair Cindy Baxter says: “Over the past decade, with the support of thousands of people, we’ve successfully fought off three applications to mine the seabed in Aotearoa’s waters, and we’ve won. We had to take it all the way to the Supreme Court, which has now quashed the 2017 Environmental Protection Authority’s green light to Trans Tasman Resources (TTR) to mine the South Taranaki Bight.
“Throughout this process, it has become abundantly clear that this activity cannot take place in our waters without causing irrevocable harm. It threatens biodiversity – from the pygmy blue whales in the South Taranaki Bight to Māui dolphins and the little blue penguin – the kororā. It’s time for this government to draw a line in the seabed, and ban the activity altogether,” she says.
Phil Mccabe, of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition says: “New Zealand has a moral obligation to both share our stand-alone experience in forensically scrutinising seabed mining proposals with the rest of the world and to call for caution on moves to enable the activity on a massive scale in the Pacific, by standing for a moratorium in international waters.”
Greenpeace’s James Hita says: “The New Zealand Government has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stop this dangerous industry before it starts. Banning seabed mining here would protect the ocean’s of Aotearoa and set a strong precedent to support the efforts of our Pacific neighbours who are opposing deep sea mining in the Pacific and around the world.
“The ocean is home to over 90% of life on Earth. It is one of our biggest allies in the fight against climate change, every second breath we take comes from the ocean, and damage to it will impact the livelihoods of billions of people. So today, on World Oceans Day let’s protect Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa by banning seabed mining here in Aotearoa,” says Hita.
It’s time for New Zealand to take a stand. Join our call on the New Zealand government to back a global moratorium on seabed mining.