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Mangatangi Mine hearings: week one

1 Sep

The powhiri

We were warmly welcomed onto Mangatangi Marae by Ngati Tamaoho on a misty Waikato morning. Local farmers sat on the host side along with tangata whenua, a demonstration of the strengthening bonds between two communities who haven’t had a lot to do with each other in the past.

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Among the manuhiri were the commissioners, representatives of Waikato Regional and District Councils and of Fonterra. The rest of the party was made up of those opposing the mine including Mana Party and Green Party members, Auckland Coal Action and others.

Knowing that a discussion of climate change would not be permitted during the hearings, Pat O’Dea made sure to cover this topic in a rousing speech before the paepae.


Not considered relevant

On the first day of hearings, Chairman David Hall explained those types of evidence that would not be considered relevant to this consent application. These included:

  • any decrease in property values as a result of the mine
  • arguments on alternative fuels to coal
  • climate change

He argued that as the end use of the coal was not a part of the consent application (only its extraction and transportation) that the possibility of alternative fuels being available could not be raised.

Jeanette Fitzsimons appeared at the end of the week to challenge this ruling and was granted leave to present evidence on wood waste as an alternative fuel to coal although the commissioners declared in advance they would not give this argument much weight.


The climate elephant

The climate elephant was the ‘elephant in the room’ for the entire first week of the hearings. He sat front and centre as a visual reminder of the big issue at stake.

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Fonterra’s evidence

Week one was given over to Fonterra to present evidence in support of their consent application. Among other topics, they gave evidence on plans for water management, landscaping and rehabilitation of the mine site as well as their analysis of the impact and magnitude of dust generated by the mine.

An interesting map was presented on Friday as part of Glencoal’s written submissions, detailing all the nearby homes where the residents had either been bought out or bought off in advance of the hearings.

Map showing the houses that will be most affected by the mine

Map showing the houses that will be most affected by the mine

On Wednesday, commissioners and locals were given a tour of the planned site of operations.


Media coverage

The locals’ concerns attracted some national media coverage throughout the week, including the following stories on TV3 and National Radio:

Click to open story on TV3 website

Click to watch story on TV3 website

Click to listen to bulletin on Radio NZ website

Click to listen to bulletin on Radio NZ website


Opposing submissions will be made on week 2 of the hearings, starting Monday 2 September

As well as the many locals and other members of the public making individual submissions, the following groups will present oral submissions:

Monday 2 September (approximate times)

  • Green Party, Catherine Delahunty  (11:45 am)
  • Dilworth School Trust Board (2:30 pm)

Tuesday 3 September

  • Coal Action Network Aotearoa, Jeanette Fitzsimons speaking on alternative fuels (9:00 am)
  • Auckland Coal Action (10:30 am)
  • Engineers for Social Responsibility (2:00 pm)
  • Mangatangi Marae Whare Oranga Clinic (4:00 pm)

Wednesday 5 September

  • Ora Taiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council (9:00 am)
  • Coal Free Mangatawhiri (10:45 am)
  • Mangatangi Marae Trustees (1:30 pm)
  • Ngati Tamaoho Trust (2:45 pm)

For a more detailed schedule, click here.

For directions to Mangatangi Marae, click here.

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Mangatangi Mine hearings kick off on Monday

22 Aug

Resource consent hearings into a proposed new open-cast coal mine kick off on Monday morning at:

Mangatangi Marae
199 Mangatangi Road, Mangatangi
Monday 26 August
Pōwhiri at 8:30 a.m.

The Waikato Councils had intended the pōwhiri to be for the Commissioners only, but the Marae Chairman has since extended the welcome to all parties to the hearings.

If you are concerned to see a new coal mine being opened in the face of opposition from the local community and to the detriment of the climate, that means you!

Click for location on Google Maps

Climate change still cannot be directly considered under the current resource consent regime in New Zealand. This is rather ironic considering that coal is the worst contributor to climate change and that climate change is the most serious environmental issue facing humanity.

We therefore expect the Climate Elephant (in the room) to make an appearance during the hearings.

The Climate Elephant goes where climate change is being ignored

The Climate Elephant goes where climate change is being ignored

Can I attend the hearings?

Yes, resource consent hearings are open to the public.

How can I get there?

Follow the GoogleMap directions to Mangatangi Marae, 199 Mangatangi Road, Mangatangi.

Mangatangi is approximately a 45-minute drive from central Auckland. To carpool from Auckland, please contact aucklandcoalaction@gmail.com

When is the best time to go?

Come along to the pōwhiri on Monday 26th August at 8:30 a.m. at Mangatangi Marae (above).

To hear Fonterra’s submissions on why they should be allowed to open a new open-cast coal mine, you can attend the first week of the hearings 26-30 August.

To hear opposing submissions come along on the second week of submissions, starting Monday 2 September.

Who will be making oral submissions in opposition to the mine?

We understand the following groups and individuals will be making oral submissions:

Coal Free Mangatawhiri and other concerned locals

Coal Action Network Aotearoa

Auckland Coal Action

Ora Taiao: The New Zealand Climate & Health Council

Jeanette Fitzsimons

Catherine Delahunty, Green Party MP

Watch this space for a more detailed schedule of submitters as the information becomes available.

Forbidden Love and a forbidden elephant

19 Oct

The Climate Elephant is barred from the room.

A dozen members of Auckland Coal Action were at the Town Hall again this evening to protest Solid Energy’s sponsorship of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s Forbidden Love. Just like all those dirty tobacco companies, coal company Solid Energy is promoting itself as one of the ‘good guys’ through association with our national orchestra.

We were there to let orchestra patrons know what kind of company was sponsoring the event, giving them copies of our open letter to the NZSO in which we urged the orchestra to ditch Solid Energy.

If we can ban sponsorship by tobacco companies because of the damage caused by their product, then it is high time we banned sponsorship by coal companies. The threat caused by burning coal to our climate is far more serious than tobacco.

Climate change is the elephant in the room when we talk about coal mining, but this evening our very own Climate Elephant was barred from entering the room by security guards.

The elephant, and the urgent problem he represents, are too big to ignore and won’t be going away any time soon.