Opponents to the development of a new mine on the West Coast are slamming the suggestion they should drop their case in light of job losses at Spring Creek Mine.
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce wants those against Bathurst Resources' Escarpment Mine near Westport to stop their court action, saying a new mine will bring much needed jobs into the area.
Coal Action Network Aotearoa spokesman Kristin Gillies says it's a baffling suggestion.
"It really defies belief that the Minister would advocate meddling in the resource consent process and a legitimate court process."
Kristin Gillies says the minister should turn his focus towards getting the Spring Creek miners their jobs back.
West Coast Environment Network spokeswoman Lynley Hargreaves says it's a knee-jerk reaction.
"Opening and shutting mines every time the coal prices go up and down, up and down the coast - which is a really widely spread out area - is not the solution."
Lynley Hargreaves says it's deeply inappropriate for a minister to intervene in a case that's before the courts.
Photo: NZ Herald