350km paddle puts focus on mining

JAMES IRELAND
Last updated 07:31 30/11/2012
PAddler

ON BOARD: Dave Rastovich paddles his way up the west coast from Taranaki to Piha to protest seabed mining.

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Pro surfer Dave Rastovich's passion for the sea has led him to undertake a two week, 350km journey on a paddle board up the west coast from Taranaki to Piha.

The decision to take to the water was spurred on by the proposals that have been granted to allow undersea surveying for the purpose of mining parts of the west coast for iron sands.

The Government released a paper for public consultation relating to revenue from minerals with public submissions closing on December 7.

Reviewing the Royalties Regime for Minerals paper focuses on the royalty rates applied to coal, gold, silver, platinum group elements, ironsands, phosphates and seafloor massive sulphides.

The recommended changes to ironsand royalties would mean the mining company pays the higher of two options, either 2 per cent of its net revenues or 10 per cent of its accounting profits once all significant costs have been recovered. These new royalties would be double the current rates.

Mr Rastovich is set to land on Piha's shore tomorrow which will be celebrated by a fundraising event and concert organised by Kiwis Against Seabed Mining.

"People the world over come to experience the raw, untouched waters of New Zealand and celebrate a space not yet disturbed by industrial humanity," he says.

"Yet if widespread seabed mining reaches the coastal waters of this country, the allure of visiting a once pristine place will disappear. This coast, including Taranaki's jewels, Raglan's points, and Auckland's beaches, are Aotearoa's spiritual centre for surfers. All would be threatened if the sand flow is interrupted and a coastline littered with flawless waves could be irretrievably altered."

Mr Rastovich was born in New Zealand but now lives in Byron Bay and has been involved in environmental campaigns before including paddling into Taiji Bay in Japan to protest the killing of dolphins.

Kiwis Against Seabed Mining's Piha organiser Cindy Baxter says this will be an opportunity for people to learn more about the cause.

"This is a cause that Piha residents are really getting behind. It is something that matters to all of us because seabed mining could have terrible effects on the surf and the marine life. This event will be a chance to educate and hopefully entice some new members," she says.

Surfers from the area, including former Waitakere city mayor Bob Harvey, will paddle out to meet Mr Rastovich at 12.30pm tomorrow.

From 1pm to 4pm the Piha domain will be set up with stalls, food and music for the whole family and from 7pm to 12.30am at the Piha Bowling Club a show will be held featuring George Thompson, Drop D's, The Solomonix and Moisty Atsushi and the Rocksteady Allstars at a cost of $15.

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