Govt firm on conservation land new mine ban: minister

New Conservation Minister Poto Williams says the Government stands by the Prime Minister’s plan to implement a ban on new mines on conservation land.

Ms Williams also indicated more land would be added to West Coast national parks.

The "no new mines" policy was a surprise announcement from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during the speech from the throne upon election in 2017. However, it was not supported by New Zealand First and therefore did not progress.

Green Party list MP Eugenie Sage questioned Ms Williams in Parliament yesterday, and the new minister reiterated the Government’s commitment.

"Earlier this term we announced a significant work programme to reclassify 2.5 million hectares of stewardship land ... The reclassification of stewardship land is an important step to protect conservation values from the adverse effects of activities on conservation land, which includes mining," SHE said.

"There is still a process to work through to further develop and fully implement the broader policies of having no new mines. As a Government, we remain committed to ensuring mining only happens where and when appropriate, and according to robust regulatory standards."

Ms Williams said 16% of the West Coast was likely to be reclassified as national park. This will mean that new access arrangements to mine Crown-owned land may no longer be granted on that land.

The Ngai Tahu Manawhenua Panel working on the stewardship land review has said it is firmly opposed to any additions to national park.

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