A bid by environmentalists to get Government to protect the southern Coromandel's conservation land from mining has fallen flat — leaving "gutted" Protect Karangahake members reformulating their plan of action.
Currently conservation land North of SH25 Kopu-Hikuai is protected by Schedule 4, but land to its south on the Coromandel is not.
Nearly two years after a 4500-strong petition from conservation groups supported by Protect Karangahake, a Government select committee has decided not to extend Schedule 4 to the entire Coromandel Ecological Region south into Katikati and Te Aroha.
"We're really gutted and shocked by their decision and we're looking at what we do from now," says Protect Karangahake spokesperson Beccy Dove.
"It just feels like they've really let us down."
The petition sought to extend Schedule 4 to 12 nautical miles from Te Moehau to Te Aroha, encompassing the entire Coromandel Ecological District, and to ban further blasting, underground and open cast mining within residential zones or within 400m of any residence in the Coromandel-Hauraki region.
The committee considering the petition said it appreciated the time and effort from the petitioner and submitters.
However the conservation land proposed for protection was currently being considered for redress as part of Treaty settlements.
"For that reason, we do not think it is appropriate for us to make any recommendations on whether the status of this land should change."
Coromandel Watchdog is reviewing the Government's reasoning.
Spokesperson Augusta Macassey-Pickard said it appeared there was no specific support from Labour, despite the commitments they made when the petition was presented on the steps of Parliament just before the election in 2017.
"It seems that Labour has not supported this, despite having it as a policy in their manifesto for more than 10 years and Minister David Parker restated support for the move publicly lastyear."
The group says a mining permit application has been lodged over more than 5000ha of high value conservation land that's home to numerous threatened species.
"We have deep concerns about mining activities here, the precedents that would be set for all the rest of the Coromandel, and how desperately vulnerable this environment, these species are to industrial mining."