Backlash against the Department of Conservation is mounting after they gave the green light to a seabed mining company.
Trans Tasman Resources (TTR) have applied to mine a 66 square kilometre area in South Taranaki of 50 million tonnes of iron-ore laden sand from the seabed per year. Their first application was rejected in 2014.
The public can now make submissions for or against the mining application but DOC have chosen to refrain from submitting, saying in a statement that they're satisfied all conservation measures have been met.
One of Taranaki's eight iwi - Ngati Ruanui - have said DOC's decision not to submit may have cost the government a fast resolution to ongoing treaty settlements around Mt Taranaki with Ngati Ruanui and other iwi.
"There was no engagement, thats the real sadness in all of this, as treaty settlement partners we are supposed to work together," Kaiarataki of Te Runanga o Ngati Ruanui, Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said.
"They can ring and tell us when they're releasing a kiwi but they can't ring and tell us when they're making a radical decision that will directly affect us."
Ngarewa-Packer said as a result of DOC backing TTR and the lack of consultation the department had with iwi on the matter, treaty settlement negotiations in Taranaki with Ngati Ruanui would be impacted.
"Our chair said at our last meeting after a unanimous call, that we will not go back into settlement with a government that endorses this type of activity."
"This may have a huge follow on effect to other iwi engaged in settlement. I think they've underestimated the effect.
"I just don't understand how the heck DOC signed this off."
In TTR's first application to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) DOC submitted against the company on the rounds more information was needed on the effects of mining-related noise on marine mammals and the potential destruction of habitat.