Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says Green MP Eugenie Sage won't lose her Land Information ministerial portfolio even though the Government has effectively overturned an earlier decision she had made on foreign investment in Waihi.
And Ardern says the decision was the sign of a robust process, and "absolutely not" a sign of the Labour Party railroading the Greens.
Earlier today Ministers Grant Robertson and David Parker announced their approval for an application from mining company OceanaGold to buy land in Waihi.
The 180ha of farmland would enable the construction of a storage facility that would extend the life of OceanaGold's mine for a further nine years.
OceanaGold had previously applied to buy the land through the Overseas Investment Office, which makes a recommendation that needs to be signed off by two ministers.
The initial application was approved by Associate Finance Minister David Clark, but effectively vetoed by Sage, as Land Information Minister, in May.
OceanaGold sought a judicial review and made a new application for the same land, which Robertson and Parker have now approved.
National Party leader Simon Bridges said their decision was effectively a no-confidence vote in Sage, and she should be stripped of the Land Information portfolio.
But Ardern told media today that Sage would continue to hold the portfolio.
Asked if Labour had railroaded the Greens, Ardern said: "Absolutely not."
She said it was not unusual for Clark and Sage to have come to different decisions in May.
"A different application was then made, two separate Ministers again looked at the decision and came to a different outcome."
She said she had nothing to do with the decision, but had faith in the process.
"Different ministers have come to different decisions and I don't think that's got anything to do with political parties."
She said the Greens might have a right to be disappointed if a different decision had been made on the same application.
"These were two different applications that were considered, and a really robust process has been applied here."
The ministerial decision-making roles for OceanaGold's new application were transferred to Robertson and Parker.
They identified the retention of about 340 fulltime jobs over nine years and exports valued at $2 billion over nine years as the main benefits in the application.
Sage said in a statement that she stood by her original decision.
In a document outlining her May decision, Sage said that the nine more years that the application would have provided for mining was plenty of time to create new jobs, and that the mine had been in operation for some time but the median personal income in the Hauraki District was still only $23,000.
She also had concerns that it would enable more mining, and therefore more emissions.
The new decision was met with approval by BusinessNZ and the Employers and Manufacturers Association.
But Coromandel Watchdog of Hauraki said it was "disgusted" by Robertson's and Parker's decision, which had sabotaged Sage.
"Oceana have undermined the robust decision made by Green Minister Eugenie Sage with an application that is basically the same as before so they can get a new decision," said watchdog chairwoman and former Green MP Catherine Delahunty.
"Its a shocking attack on due process and on the Minister who made the original decision on robust grounds.
"Its not a new application, and the Labour Ministers who approved it have ignored the environment and climate risks as well as the loss of food-producing land."
OceanaGold needs resource consent from the Hauraki District Council before it can begin operations on the land.