November 10, 2016
LegaSea and South Taranaki locals are pleased the Environment Court has upheld a challenge by Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM), local Maori and fishing interests, against a foreign owned seabed mining company Trans-Tasman Resources (TTR).
On Monday 7th November, the Environmental Court heard the case brought by KASM, asking the court to order TTR to reveal information hidden in the company’s application to mine iron sand from the South Taranaki Bight.
The judge has delivered his verdict and it’s a good one for KASM.
The judge ruled that the hidden information was neither a trade secret nor would it cause unnecessary commercial prejudice towards TTR. The need of the public to access this information to properly assess and submit on the process to extract a publicly owned resource outweighed any negative effects on TTR “by a considerable margin”. This view is supported by over 8,000 submissions sent to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to date, showing considerable public interest.
This hidden information was the missing link between the sediment plume model in TTR’s 2013 application and the much smaller plume model in their recent application. The much larger plume model in 2013 was one of the main reasons the EPA declined the application, therefore it is instrumental in their current application to show how they have mitigated this issue.
TTR stated that this information was of a technical nature and of no use to the public, the judge ruled this to be untrue as there would be many parties interested in understanding the application. A lack of public knowledge is not an excuse for withholding such information.
Submissions to the EPA close on Monday 14th November. KASM is now applying to have the submission period extended so the public can submit taking into account this recent information.
LegaSea congratulates KASM, their years of hard work on this issue is paying off. LegaSea supporters have the utmost respect for the work KASM has undertaken on behalf of the people of New Zealand. Keep up the good work.