DOC was Bribed | The Jackal

29 Sep 2011

DOC was Bribed

A few days ago the Otago Daily Times reported that the Department of Conservation will receive $100,000 from gold-miner Oceana Gold in return for taking a neutral stance on an application to expand the East Otago gold mine.

This is a blatant bribe as DOC had already made its position known:
The director-general of conservation, concerned about the loss of habitat for the Taieri flathead galaxiids, longfin eel and the indigenous flora, had asked for the resource consents for the mine expansion to be declined. However, yesterday he told the hearing panel through counsel Pene Williams that the payment and a trout barrier would sufficiently deal with adverse effects of the project.
The National Government recently cut DOC funding, making the likelihood of more state-funded conservation programmes in the near future unlikely.

This would also lead to DOC needing to acquire funds from other sources and increase the likelihood that the government department would disregard its mandate to acquire additional money.
The director-general of the Department of Conservation Al Morrison, recently pointed out that the only practical way to preserve New Zealand’s natural biodiversity and conservation estate is to invest in it. Bribery from polluting industries effectively does the opposite.

The Otago Daily Times article also reported that the proposed mine extension would flood gullies and remove several threatened plant species. The Otago Regional Council science unit said the deeper flows would provide habitat for trout that predate on galaxiid, meaning that the recently discovered sub-species could be endangered.