A petition containing nearly 40,000 signatures calling for seabed mining to be banned was presented to Māori Party MP Debbie Ngarewa-Packer and Green Party MP Eugenie Sage at parliament this afternoon.
South Taranaki-based Ngāti Ruanui, which has a number of legal actions to prevent seabed mining in their rohe, supported the delivery of the petition that was promoted by a number of environmental and political groups including Kiwis Against Seabed Mining, Greenpeace Aotearoa, and Te Pāti Māori. The petition seeks to have all seabed and deep-sea mining banned from the coastlines right out to the edge of the Exclusive Economic Zone.
James Hita, who presented the petition to the MPs said the ramifications of seabed mining, and deep-sea mining would be far-reaching.
"The ocean provides every second breath that we take, and that is at risk. We don't have time to sit and rest, we need to take action. This petition represents the actions of more than 35,000 people telling the government to take action, to protect our futures, and protect Te Moana nui a Kiwa.
"We can't allow people to come in and destroy our oceans without allowing us to have our say."
Mining ban gathers more support
Ngarewa-Packer, who is also a former Ngāti Ruanui kaiarataki said every signature in the petition will be heard.
"You matter to us - we know what it's like to be young activist. As a not-so-young activist, never doubt the mahi that you do, so that this place up here [Parliament] stops burying its head in the sand and starts to admit that it's got it wrong.
"To sit there and see my people back in the EPA last week, to see them back in court trying to prove that this should never be here, we should never be here. We should never have to protect our ocean to the depth and extent that we are at the moment."
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Ruanui has fought Trans Tasman Resources all the way to the Supreme Court to prevent iron sands from being removed from Pātea. Ngarewa-Packer says she is humbled to see 36,000 signatures on the petition.
"The first petition we brought here was about eight years ago and it had 6000 signatures. It just goes to show how significant this kaupapa is and, particularly for people like mine back home, when the cost of living is so expensive, the last thing we need is uncertainty around our kaimoana and our moana."