From the Commissioner's Overview:
In March this year, the Government released a discussion paper proposing that some conservation land be removed from Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act to allow it to be considered for mining. In April I presented my view on this proposal in a forum held at a Nelson vineyard. I had scarcely finished speaking when my phone began to run ‘hot’ with journalists seeking interviews. Dealing with this while racing to catch a plane back to Wellington brought home to me the strength of public feeling on this issue. Three days later thousands of people took part in a protest march up Queen Street.
The public debate that took place over mining on Schedule 4 land was inevitably somewhat muddled. For instance, national parks were taken to be the same as Schedule 4 land, whereas they form a subset of Schedule 4 land. In July the Government decided not to remove any land from Schedule 4, but to pursue other opportunities for expanding mining on public land. This included the sixty percent of the conservation land managed by the Department of Conservation which is not listed on Schedule 4. It is mining on this land that is the focus of this report.