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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 39, Number 24, September 27, 1976.


A few days ago, the Prime Minister announced that the Government may consider schemes involving the "controlled mining" of resources contained within the boundaries of New Zealands National Parks.

The case presently in question is that of Consolidated Silver Mining Co., and their activities in the Fiordland area, but what is interesting to note is that Muldoon's comments were made about National Parks in general.

This would seem to imply that the Government's intends opening up, for massive commercial exploitation, the few remaining unspoiled natural resources we have left.

While such action may seem remote to an unaware public, it is important to point out how little protection the National Park's Act does in fact give these areas.

The main effect of the National Parks Act is to set up a National Parks Authority - which is empowered to manage those parks 'in the National interest'.

The act itself contrary to popular opinion, does not prohibit mining - or for that matter any other form of exploitation - rather it directs the Authority to formulate policy that enables such parks to be 'preserved in perpetuity for the benefit of the people of New Zealand'. The contradiction here is that, although it is the job of the Authority to preserve the parks, the government (in its wisdom of what the 'national interest' involves), may direct the Authority to support and supervise any commercial exploitation.