National Park mining claims 'hysterical' - Brownlee
The Government's stocktake of New Zealand's mineral resources includes investigating reserves in three national parks, which means it is considering mining them, the Green Party says.
But Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee says the Greens are being hysterical and he can't see that happening.
Green's co-leader Metiria Turei said yesterday she had official information which showed the stocktake included oil reserves in Fiordland National Park and gold and coal in Kahurangi and Paparoa parks as well.
Ministers insist the stocktake is no more than that and there is no intention of spoiling pristine parks but Ms Turei said documents she had obtained showed the extent of the stocktake.
"They already know what they want and they're preparing to steal it from the public," she said.
"Far from not wanting to mine in national parks and only being interested in `low value' areas, the officials' advice shows they are keen to mine our most precious parks."
Ms Turei said she had obtained advice from the Ministry of Economic Development and the Department of Conservation under the Official Information Act which showed the parks were in the stocktake.
"Fiordland National Park is our most iconic national park...it is much-loved by tourists and contributed $228 million to New Zealand in 2005," she said.
"The Government's ideology for destructive mining is blinding it to economic facts."
Mr Brownlee told NZPA the stocktake was to find out what was there.
"We just want to have a look at it, we want to know what's going on," he said.
"The Greens are hung up because they asked me whether national parks were included in the stocktake, and I said they were.
"I think New Zealanders have a right to know what's there and what the possibilities are."
He said he was confident New Zealanders would also say the conservation value of national parks was much higher than any potential mineral wealth.
The Greens were "really being hysterical" to claim mining in Fiordland National Park was being considered, Mr Brownlee said.
"I can't see that happening, it's a real stretch of the imagination.
"I didn't know there was oil in Fiordland National Park."