Mining poll result 'shows Kiwis alert to misinformation'

Mining industry group Straterra says the survey shows misinformation on minerals and mining from a minority is rejected by most New Zealanders. Photo / Supplied
Mining industry group Straterra says the survey shows misinformation on minerals and mining from a minority is rejected by most New Zealanders. Photo / Supplied

A mining industry group says strong support for mining in a survey shows "misinformation" from opponents is rejected by most New Zealanders.

Straterra says the Herald-DigiPoll survey results provide good signs for investors.

The poll showed 27 per cent of those questioned supported the Government's aim to increase oil, gas and mineral exploration and almost a further 40 per cent cautiously supported it.

Thirty per cent of the 750 respondents were strongly opposed or leaned towards opposing increased exploration.

Straterra chief executive Chris Baker said the number who indicated cautious support showed why every case should be treated separately.

"However, the survey shows that misinformation on minerals and mining promulgated by a vocal and persistent minority is rejected by most New Zealanders, who have confidence in our regulations and who see every reason for mineral exploration," Baker said.

The poll result was also a positive sign for investors in resources as it indicated that the public were willing to take a rational and considered approach towards mining proposals.

There was potential for companies to be spooked by opposition such as that to Bathurst Resources' proposed coal project on the West Coast.

"A lot of the opposition is vocal but what that survey says is that it is a minority," Baker said.

The Government's support for the resource sector could also be influenced by polls.

"The benefits in gaining more knowledge of New Zealand's mineral resource potential are obvious - it's about exploring the possibility of new economic opportunities for New Zealand, at a time of need."

Opponents say local economic spinoff from mining and oil and gas projects are low.

But Baker said "a reasonable estimate" is that more than 80 per cent of the annual expenditure would stay in New Zealand as salaries, taxes, rates, levies, royalties, payments to suppliers, contractors, and regulatory costs.

Oil and gas group the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association said the poll showed New Zealanders had confidence in the industry and the Government getting the balance right between the energy supply, the economy and the environment.

"It's clear New Zealanders agree that you can have both the economic benefits of oil and gas exploration while protecting our clean, green global brand," said association chief executive David Robinson.

"It's not an 'and/or' argument - it's an 'and/and' discussion."

He said exploration companies were still desperately seeking rigs for work here this coming summer but were up against stiff competition from other countries.

- NZ Herald

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