"North America's largest environment lobby group says opening up our national parks for mining is an insult to conservationists around the world.
The 1.3 million-member Sierra Club, reacting angrily to news that New Zealand's conservation land may be investigated for mining potential.
"You have the responsibility to protect New Zealand's wild heritage not only for the enjoyment of future generations but also for the protection and conservation of the Earth's ever shrinking biodiversity," writes Richard Cellarius, the club's international vice-president. "Long-term protection should not be sacrificed for immediate commercial gain."
The Sierra Club is not the first overseas organisation to scrutinise the government's new interest in mining. At last November's 9th World Wilderness Conference in Mexico, 1500 delegates from 52 countries passed a resolution requesting the continuation of the no-mining status quo in relation to public conservation land within protected areas.
And a letter from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, following a meeting of 200 delegates in Korea, said: "The news that a modern, comparatively wealthy nation such as New Zealand is prepared to exploit its resources in lands set aside for biodiversity sends a disturbing message to more populous countries."brownlee and key are national disgraces and their short-sighted money grubbing will only benefit the overseas mining companies - history and the people of this country will remember this and your names will be forever used as insults.