Mining a part of life, Greens say

Last updated 15:20 02/06/2012

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The Green Party has signalled a rethink of its mining policy, opening the door to one day approving of mining in New Zealand.

Greens co-leader Russel Norman told TV3's The Nation mining was part of the economy that could not be escaped.

''It's part of life, like you know look at things all around us,'' he said.

The Greens needed to discuss the role of mining in the economy, Norman said, and though it was opposed to any new coal mines, the party was open to mines for other minerals.

''Obviously you've got to look at the localised environmental impact of a particular mining operation. I mean it's a case by case.''

He said the Greens wanted New Zealand to steer away from ''risky mining'' for fossil fuels, such as deep sea oil drilling and fracking.

''There's the mining for all the metals, but then there's mining for fossil fuels," Norman said.

''And so what we're saying is instead of going down the path of more and more risky mining for fossil fuels, we should be investing in the transition because we're going to have to do it anyway,'' Norman said.

He said the National-led Government wanted the country to be more dependant on oil by building new motorways, instead it should increase public transport, which would also reduce the cost of greenhouse emissions.

''That's one example where Green economics I think makes a lot of fiscal sense, because there's less pressure on the government's budget, but it also makes great economic sense because it does the rebalancing we need in the New Zealand economy,'' he said.

The Green Party is holding annual conference in Upper Hutt this weekend.

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