Enraged activists paint Maggie Barry over Karangahake mine site

  • 10/09/2017
Enraged activists paint Maggie Barry over Karangahake mine site
Photo credit: Enjoy Not Destroy / Supplied

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry is the latest of National's MPs to be immortalised in art, with environmentalists stencilling her face across a mine entryway in the Coromandel.

New Talisman Gold sparked protests after opening a mine at the historic Karangahake Gorge site, with the gated entrance on a Department of Conservation access road.

Activist group Enjoy Not Destroy said Ms Barry told Parliament last month the road would only be temporarily closed, until September 9.

On Sunday, they protested its continued closure by erecting a wooden block across the gate, with a stencilled image of Ms Barry's face on it.

Enjoy Not Destroy said the fact the road was still closed showed Ms Barry had no idea what her department was doing, which spokesperson Holly Dove described as a "terrifying precedent".

"This is a blatant coupling of industry with the Department of Conservation, and the result is scary," she said.

"That a place so beautiful, like Karangahake, which attracts millions of tourist dollars to the local community every year, with precious wildlife and ecology, could be turned over to the hands of a private mining firm is beyond comprehension."

While this protest was peaceful, not all against the mine have been. In June, z-nails - nails with both ends pointed and at a 90-degree angle - were reportedly found hidden under ferns on the road.

The portrait of Ms Barry comes after a statue was erected of Environment Minister Nick Smith squatting with his pants down over a glass of water, created by artist and activist Sam Mahon to highlight water pollution issues.

Dr Smith said he wasn't bothered by the statue, as politics had given him a "thick skin".