Paddleboarder raises awareness on seabed mining
Saturday 1 Dec 2012 4:50 p.m.
A campaigner who has paddled almost 350km along the North Island's wild west coast has finished his epic journey.
Dave Rastovich made the trip to raise awareness about proposed seabed mining off our coasts. He says if the mining goes ahead the consequences could be devastating and irreversible.
There was touchdown on solid land for Mr Rastovich after a 16-day paddle from Taranaki to Auckland's Piha Beach.
“Physically I'm tired,” he says. “Inside I'm lit up.”
He is lit up because he's raising awareness about plans to mine the seabed off the coast of New Zealand, and he has support from several conservation groups.
“They’re scraping the skin off the bottom of the ocean and that's where all the life is, so that affects the whole marine ecology,” says Phil McCabe of Kiwis Against Seabed Mining.
Mr Rastovich has paddled along the west coast because he believes it could be seriously threatened if proposed mining plans go ahead.
“I’m really scared that you'll lose all your fisheries along this coastline,” he says. “Industries will disappear.”
Trans-Tasman Resources Limited has invested millions in surveying seabed sites for Iron Ore harvesting, and says the separation process only involves magnets and the environmental impact can be managed.
“We would not be here trying to promote this project, spending a lot of shareholders’ money, if we didn’t think that this could be done in a environmentally friendly way,” says Tim Crossley of Trans-Tasman Resources.
But campaigners say the mining will further endanger the near-extinct Maui dolphin, with next to no economic benefit to New Zealand.
“Would you let someone harvest a dollar out of your bank account and give you three cents?” asks Mr McCabe. “I don’t understand that.”
Trans-Tasman Resources says there's a up to $1 billion worth of iron ore on our seabed and a rigorous nine-month inquiry will be the ultimate decider of whether seabed mining should be done off our coasts.
But campaigners like Mr Rastovich say they'll keep on fighting to preserve the coastline and the environment for all to enjoy.