Govt reponse to Spring Creek Miners’ appeal “baffling”

Press Release

Coal Action Network Aotearoa said today it was “baffling” that the Minister of Economic Development, Steven Joyce, has suggested short-cutting due process on an unrelated mining application as a solution to job losses at Spring Creek mine.

Coal Action Network stands in solidarity with the Spring Creek miners who this morning appealed to Government ministers to save their jobs.

“The responsible ministers should direct Solid Energy to reinstate the Spring Creek miners immediately rather than meddling in the crucial matter of climate change which is before the courts,” said Kristin Gillies, spokesperson for Coal Action Network Aotearoa.

Coal Action Network supports the appeal currently before the courts that seeks to have climate change considered as part of the Resource Management Act applications to mine coal, including the application by Bathurst Resources to mine the Denniston Plateau.

Kristin Gillies stated: “Mr Joyce’s solution to the crisis on the West Coast caused by its reliance on the coal mining industry by opening another coal mine defies belief and raises questions as to whether he has the qualifications to be a Minister.”

“Coal mining is not sustainable.  Not for the environment, not for the climate, not for the economy, and not for the workers and communities who depend on Solid Energy for their livelihoods,” added Gillies. “But trying to solve Solid’s problems at Spring Creek by pushing for another mine to be opened is pure lunacy.”

The Minister should get the miners their jobs back tomorrow and then focus on creating  sustainable livelihoods for the West Coast and New Zealand.  The costs of the transition away from fossil fuels must be borne by the companies who have profited from them in the past.  Not by workers and their communities.

Coal Action Network Aotearoa is opposed to the opening of new mines, not the closing of current ones.  For a full explanation of this rationale please see the Op Ed now on this blog.

Note:  Steven Joyce makes two errors in his press release today.
1. The Denniston/Escarpment Mine application was lodged by Bathurst just over two years ago, not the seven years claimed by Joyce.
2.  The question of whether climate change should be considered in the decision hasn’t yet been before the Court of Appeal, yet the Minister says it has been through that court.

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