Simon Bridges is under considerable pressure. Yesterday he appeared to have been caught out when it was disclosed that the areas he had designated [for oil exploration] included DOC’s largest forest park, an area described by DOC as “pristine” and “untouched”.
Today in Parliament Russel Norman asked him about this decision. The film makes entertaining viewing.
It appears that a number of parks are included and Norman listed some of them. They include:
Kakapōtahi Ecological Area, Te Wharau Ecological Area, Deep Creek Ecological Area, Mōkihinui Forks Ecological Area, Upper Tōtara Ecological Area, Doctor Hill Ecological Area, Mount Hārata Ecological Area, Coal Creek Ecological Area, Kaniere Ecological Area, Three Mile Hill Ecological Area, Greenstone Ecological Area, Mount Richmond Forest Park, Te Wharau Wildlife Management Area, Orikaka Ecological Area, Bell Hill – Granite Hill Ecological Area, Fletcher Creek Ecological Area, Card Creek Ecological Area, Lyall Historic Reserve and White Creek Fault Scientific Reserve.
Bridges then appears to have had something of a brain explosion. He tried to defend himself by claiming “that was not the case when under his [Norman’s] watch there were 12 mining permits, including for exploratory petroleum, in the very area—the Victoria Forest Park— where he now says there should not be any mining in.”
Bridges then said “Russel Norman allowed open-cast coalmining in that area when he was …” until he was cut off.
It appears that Bridges thinks that Norman was a former Minister for Mining. Someone needs to advise him that Norman has never been a Minister. Bridges appears to be as confused as to the membership of previous Cabinets and he is about where he is allowing exploratory drilling.