Opponents to Foulden Maar write open letter to Mayor Dave Cull
24 May 2019
Opponents to a proposed diatomite mine at Foulden Maar near Middlemarch in Central Otago have written an open letter to Mayor Dave Cull asking that he immediately withdraw the Dunedin City Council ‘Letter of Support’ to the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) endorsing Plaman Resources’ application for approval to buy ‘sensitive land’.
The letter, which can be viewed below, was sent on Wednesday 22 May. It is supported by more than 7,600 people from New Zealand and abroad who have signed a petition to preserve Foulden Maar in its entirety and in perpetuity for the benefit of future generations.
“In light of the misleading and incomplete information given to the Mayor by Plaman Resources, it is not enough that Mayor Cull has asked for the letters to be set aside. We need him to formally withdraw it for his action to have any impact,” said Andrea Bosshard of Middlemarch.
“The mayor has been misled once already. Why give Plaman the chance to do this again, particularly given the public outrage to their proposal and the desecration of this unique site?”
As of 10am on Friday 24 May, the letter has not yet received a response from Mayor Cull.
Open letter to Dave Cull
22 May 2015
Mayor of Dunedin
We are writing on behalf of the Save Foulden Maar group, which is now supported by more than 7,400 people from New Zealand and abroad who have signed a petition to preserve Foulden Maar in its entirety and in perpetuity for the benefit of future generations.
In light of the misleading and incomplete information you were provided with by Plaman Resources’ New Zealand General Manager, Craig Pilcher, we request you immediately withdraw the Dunedin City Council ‘Letter of Support’ to the Overseas Investment Office endorsing Plaman Resources’ application for approval to buy ‘sensitive land’. We do not feel it is enough that you have put your ‘support on hold’.
Over the past weeks, you will have become aware that the scientific community has presented a considerable amount of peer-reviewed evidence attesting to the supreme importance of the site, not only for its treasure trove of fossils, but also for the invaluable climate change data it holds. We urge you to listen to them.
The lure of short-term economic growth has seen research and due diligence entirely abandoned. In addition to withdrawing your letter of support, and in the interests of democratic principles, we ask you to consult with community and scientists.
Under your leadership, Dunedin has resolved to be carbon-neutral by 2050. Despite the reassuring words on the Plaman Global website (recently removed), that “Black Pearl® reduces greenhouse gas emissions, both directly and indirectly”, do not be fooled. This is a carbon intensive industry. When at peak production in four years, there will be 216 truck movements 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for over 20 years from Foulden Maar via Outram to Milton and back. The diatomite they would carry is 60% water and the drying process will also burn huge amounts of fossil fuel. This is neither in line with the DCC’s climate change policy, or the Paris Accord which New Zealand has signed up to.
Otago Museum entomologist Anthony Harris summed it up as follows: “To needlessly destroy this geological marvel would be an almost unparalleled act of uncivilised vandalism that would earn New Zealand international contempt.”
We urge you as the Mayor of Dunedin to now act with true leadership and integrity and unambiguously withdraw support from the Plaman endeavour.
Kimberley Collins (science communicator & campaigner)
Andrea Bosshard (filmmaker)
Shane Loader (filmmaker & editor)
Nic Rawlence (palaeogeneticist)
Philippa Jamieson (writer and editor)