Seabed mining's moral cost too great - family

CHRIS GARDNER
Last updated 12:01 09/04/2014

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The idea that New Zealand could become a leader in seabed mining had Dr Heidi Douglass thinking of prostitution.

The Raglan-based clinical psychologist spoke out with her husband and children against Trans-Tasman Resources' (TTR) plans to mine 50 million tonnes of material off the west coast at the Environment Protection Agency hearing in Hamilton.

Hearing committee member William Kapea suggested to Douglass: "We have an opportunity to be leaders in sand mining."

"I could be a leader in prostitution, I don't want to do that," Douglass, who grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, said.

"Creatures I only saw in the tanks in Boston swim near me in the sea here: sting rays, orcas, and kingfish," she said.

"I can watch the orca while sitting on the sofa in my living room. You have a precious resource here on the west coast of New Zealand. If we stay on this path, where we allow humans to destroy all the animal life and use up all of our resources, New Zealand will go from being a beautiful wild place to this."

Douglass's husband Mark Dobson, a project manager, looked at the business case of the mining proposal.

The Government would spend $71 million per year on the project, recouping only $54m in tax, leaving a loss of $17m, Dobson said.

"Scientists cannot predict all the costs. We have just their guesses."

Their Jack Douglass-Dobson, 13, said seabed mining where Maui dophins lived was "insane".

He said more than 200 people turned out to protest against the proposal when TTR met with the community at a marae in Raglan.

Jack's sister Evey Douglass-Dobson, 12, concentrated on blue whales which, she said, hated seabed mining because of the racket and destruction it caused.

"They have suffered enough. Don't let seabed mining be allowed anywhere near our country and our blue whales. It is my responsibility and yours to protect them. Whales stay together when one of them is sick. That is love just like my family loves me. We need to love them back and protect their home."

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- Waikato

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