Police have arrested protesters, including a former Green MP, campaigning against gold mining on conservation land in the Coromandel on Saturday.
Twelve members of anti-mining group Protect Karangahake were occupying a New Talisman Gold Mine site in Karangahake when police and mining security arrived.
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Police told Newshub five people were arrested the site for tresspassing, and were later released at the Paeroa police station after receiving a pre-charge warning.
Protect Karangahake spokesperson Holly Dove told Newshub the group had been committed to staying on the site, but said it had since moved to interrupt a tour of the area by New Talisman Gold shareholders and geologists.
She said the protest was highlighting that mining on conservation land needed to stop.
"We are here to say that conservation land needs to be about protecting our precious and wild places and not destroying them," said Ms Dove.
Coromandel Watchdog of Hauraki advocacy group spokesperson Augusta Macassey-Pickard said,"It beggars belief that our communities are being put into this situation, that they are havig to go to extreme lengths, risking arrest, simply for saying that they do not want this Australian company to come in here and mine."
The protesters, including ex-Greens MP Catherine Delahunty, had initially been occupying a public road closed by the Department of Conservation that allows vehicles to access the site.
Ms Delahunty told Newshub she wanted to make a point to the Government that the land should not be mined.
She said parts of the Karangahake had already been ruined by the operations, including the entrance to the mine site. That area, according to Ms Delahunty, had once been a "lovely picnic area", but now looked like an "industrial site".
"I wanted to show a commitment to the local community and the mountain by being prepared to be arrested for trespass, and that’s what happened."
Ms Delahunty said the arrests would not stop their on-going campaign to protect "an absolute paradise".
Ms Macassey-Pickard said it was disappointing the Government was still yet to honour a pre-election pledge to permanently protect a section of conservation land from mining.
Labour's pre-election conservation policy included a promise to extend protection to land south of the Kopu-Hikuai highway down to Te Aroha, home to the world's most endangered amphibian, the Archey's frog.
Last year, representatives from the Greens and Labour also accepted a 4500-strong petition, calling for the area to be brought under Schedule Four of the Crown Minerals Act, which protects specific conservation land from any open cast or underground mining with significant surface operations.
But Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage told Newshub Nation in July she won't commit to that as she is waiting to hear recommendations from the select committee considering last year's petition.
"It would be inappropriate for us to undertake work that presumes a specific outcome," she said.