Mangatangi Mine hearings: week one

1 Sep

The powhiri

We were warmly welcomed onto Mangatangi Marae by Ngati Tamaoho on a misty Waikato morning. Local farmers sat on the host side along with tangata whenua, a demonstration of the strengthening bonds between two communities who haven’t had a lot to do with each other in the past.


Among the manuhiri were the commissioners, representatives of Waikato Regional and District Councils and of Fonterra. The rest of the party was made up of those opposing the mine including Mana Party and Green Party members, Auckland Coal Action and others.

Knowing that a discussion of climate change would not be permitted during the hearings, Pat O’Dea made sure to cover this topic in a rousing speech before the paepae.

Not considered relevant

On the first day of hearings, Chairman David Hall explained those types of evidence that would not be considered relevant to this consent application. These included:

  • any decrease in property values as a result of the mine
  • arguments on alternative fuels to coal
  • climate change

He argued that as the end use of the coal was not a part of the consent application (only its extraction and transportation) that the possibility of alternative fuels being available could not be raised.

Jeanette Fitzsimons appeared at the end of the week to challenge this ruling and was granted leave to present evidence on wood waste as an alternative fuel to coal although the commissioners declared in advance they would not give this argument much weight.

The climate elephant

The climate elephant was the ‘elephant in the room’ for the entire first week of the hearings. He sat front and centre as a visual reminder of the big issue at stake.


Fonterra’s evidence

Week one was given over to Fonterra to present evidence in support of their consent application. Among other topics, they gave evidence on plans for water management, landscaping and rehabilitation of the mine site as well as their analysis of the impact and magnitude of dust generated by the mine.

An interesting map was presented on Friday as part of Glencoal’s written submissions, detailing all the nearby homes where the residents had either been bought out or bought off in advance of the hearings.

Map showing the houses that will be most affected by the mine

Map showing the houses that will be most affected by the mine

On Wednesday, commissioners and locals were given a tour of the planned site of operations.

Media coverage

The locals’ concerns attracted some national media coverage throughout the week, including the following stories on TV3 and National Radio:

Click to open story on TV3 website

Click to watch story on TV3 website

Click to listen to bulletin on Radio NZ website

Click to listen to bulletin on Radio NZ website

Opposing submissions will be made on week 2 of the hearings, starting Monday 2 September

As well as the many locals and other members of the public making individual submissions, the following groups will present oral submissions:

Monday 2 September (approximate times)

  • Green Party, Catherine Delahunty  (11:45 am)
  • Dilworth School Trust Board (2:30 pm)

Tuesday 3 September

  • Coal Action Network Aotearoa, Jeanette Fitzsimons speaking on alternative fuels (9:00 am)
  • Auckland Coal Action (10:30 am)
  • Engineers for Social Responsibility (2:00 pm)
  • Mangatangi Marae Whare Oranga Clinic (4:00 pm)

Wednesday 5 September

  • Ora Taiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council (9:00 am)
  • Coal Free Mangatawhiri (10:45 am)
  • Mangatangi Marae Trustees (1:30 pm)
  • Ngati Tamaoho Trust (2:45 pm)

For a more detailed schedule, click here.

For directions to Mangatangi Marae, click here.

One Response to “Mangatangi Mine hearings: week one”

  1. Pat O'Dea 02/09/2013 at 6:33 am #

    The Commission Chair David Hill has banned any filming or recording of the proceedings,

    As only written evidence will make it onto the permanent record, our submitters stories and evidence, which will be delivered mostly verbally will be lost if no electronic record is allowed to be kept,

    As all Fonterra’s evidence is all written evidence, carefully sanitised by banks of lawyers, this ruling by the Commission chair David Hill unfairly favour Fonterra if the decision made by the Commissioners ever goes to appeal.

    Even though most of the testimony supplied by Fonterra has been in written form, they have been verbally answering questions about this evidence off the written record, this is where all the gritty and detailed information about this mine has been coming out, However as this is also not recorded, all this evidence will also be lost, if it ever comes to an appeal.

    In explaining his decision not to allow any recording of the oral submissions, David Hill gave the weak excuse that he was making this ruling because some submitters might feel that they couldn’t be fully open when giving their submissions if they knew they were being recorded.. This may have been true for Fonterra’s witnesses, but is unlikely to be so for ours.

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