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Brownlee backdown predicted on mining

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, July 20th, 2010 - 23 comments
Categories: Conservation, Environment, Mining - Tags:

According to the NZ Herald:

The Government has scrapped plans to mine conservation land in the face of furious public protest, NZPA has confirmed. Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee will announced the Cabinet’s decision after National’s MPs have been told about it at a caucus meeting…

Mr Brownlee is expected to announce that not only will there be no mining in those areas but all national parks will in future be protected. He is likely to unveil plans for mining in other, less contentious parts of the country. That could involve Crown-owned land which is not part of the conservation estate.

Brownlee will be looking, with some desperation, for a win out of this. He nailed his colours tightly to the mining mast, saying in the House for example:

…mining at the moment takes up 0.015 percent of New Zealand’s land mass. If that were doubled, it would still be largely unnoticeable but it would provide some $4 billion to $5 billion in GDP. It is part of—and I have maintained this all the way—a number of things that will lead to a step change in the New Zealand economy.

Yes, not so long ago Mr Brownlee was all for full steam ahead saying in the ODT that mining is an ongoing industry in other countries considered green, dismissing claims that New Zealand’s green credentials will take a big hit if schedule four land is opened to mining. It was all, according to comments on TV3, “scaremongering” that “discouraged the debate over proposed plans to mine protected land.”

Embarassing also for Mr Key, who for some time appeared to be backing his Energy Ministers plans, coining the phrase “surgical incision”. But he’s backed off (thank goodness), leaving his Minister to hang out to dry. (and fronting). Key must be asking himself if someone else had been managing the issue whether it would have gone quite so badly awry. The campaign coffers would potentially be a bit plumper too…

23 comments on “Brownlee backdown predicted on mining ”

  1. Carol 1

    Is this Brownlee or Key’s back down? Hasn’t Key manipulated the announcement by landing Brownlee with responsibility for the move towards mining schedule 4, and the back down?

    Otherwise, why did Key’s government/ministers decide on this issue yesterday, then say they wouldn’t announce the results until today because they needed to inform all MPs/Nat Party members of the outcome today, before they made a public announcement – then, by the time of last night’s 6pm news the decision had already been leaked to all major news organisations?

    What has Key been up to, allowing Brownlee to take the lead on this initative, then putting him forward as the fool who tried to go against public wishes?

    And Goff just said on Nat Drad MR, that they initiative was first announced by Key when he gave his speech at the opening of parliament.

  2. joe bloggs 2

    the only thing worthy of comment about the Government’s plans to mine conservation land is that they have listened to the concerns of the electorate and have changed their plans accordingly. Nothing radical there…

    … although I can easily understand this Leftist beat-up of a posting – listening to the concerns of the electorate is such an alien concept to the Labour party that it’s hardly surprising that you should see this as some sort of weakness.

    • Pascal's bookie 2.1

      Really, the only thing worthy of comment? It was not that long ago that we were told that opponents were emotional, hysterical even, and not willing to debate the facts of the proposal. Have those facts changed, or was the government just bullshitting then? Or has the government backed down in spite of the facts because of emotional and hysterical wrong headed nonsense?

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1

        We wouldn’t know if those facts have changed or not as we haven’t been presented with any.

        • The Baron

          Can you not read Draco? Things that were previously “in” are not “in”. FACT.

          But don’t let that get in the way of your myopia. I don’t know why you even bother coming to a discussion site when you apparently know it all already.

          • Pascal's bookie

            Many of the ‘facts’ Brownlee used to sell the plan were truthy at best, so drac’s actually right.

            • The Baron

              Christ, there’s no winning with you lot is there. You complain, get what you want, but still its the “evil old nats”. THE FACTS are simple – oppositon changed mind on this job.

              Sure, shift the goal posts as much as you want to continue to wind the point that the “evil old nats” are still evil. Keep the myopia up – of course, your side can never do wrong, can they?

              • felix

                After talking to people at a senior technical level in the relevant industries recently I am left in no doubt that those areas were never under serious consideration for mining by anyone who knew what they were talking about.

              • Draco T Bastard

                The “facts” as presented by NACT were that mining these lands were going to produce x amount for the economy. When looked at through an actual detailed cost/benefit study it turned out to only be a fraction of x.

                Those are the facts and they boil down to NACTs speaking out their arse again.

    • Carol 2.2

      And yet, JB, at the same time the National Party is introducing proposals for employment laws that Pablo describes as


      a return to the old Employment Contracts Act (ECA), one of the most draconian, overtly authoritarian pieces of labour legislation seen in the modern liberal democratic world.

      • joe bloggs 2.2.1

        … your comments pre-suppose that Pablo’s a subject expert whose opinions should be treated as gospel and not simple blue-baiting. Pahhh!

        The reform of personal grievance dispute procedures can only be a positive thing for the country. Not because they redress the imbalance of power that current favours workers over employers, but because the reform puts into legislation most of the existing case law on personal grievances and dismissals. The proposal looks to ensure that the Employment Relations Authority focuses on outcomes rather than process. Under Labour, the pendulum swung towards the workers. These changes redress some of that imbalance.

        AS for the 90 day trial period, why go further than David Farrer’s list of countries already with trial periods:
        1.Argentina (3 12 months)
        2.Armenia (3 6 months)
        3.Australia (3 6 months)
        4.Austria (1 month)
        5.Belgium (up to 6 months)
        6.Brazil (90 days)
        7.Canada (3 months renewable)
        8.Cyprus (6 months)
        9.Czech Republic (3 months)
        10.Finland (4 6 months)
        11.France (1 3 months)
        12.Germany (6 months)
        13.Ireland (12 months)
        16.Jordan (90 days)
        17.Korea (3 months)
        20.Republic of Moldova
        23.Russia (3 6 months)
        26.South Africa
        29.Switzerland (1 3 months)
        33.UAE (6 months)
        35.US (6 12 months)

        • Clarke

          Now that’s what I call being ambitious for New Zealand – implementing fire-at-will laws that are as good as the ones in Lavtia and the Republic of Moldavia! That’s real leadership from the Nats, right there.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Are those probationary periods like what we have had for the last few decades or fire @ will legislation such as NACT have just introduced?

  3. Clarke 3

    Ah, Gerry Brownlee – the gift that keeps on giving for the opposition. He’s a litany of political mis-steps, poor management of the House, and just plain dumb pronouncements. The only reason he’s not regarded as the most inept member of the government is because Anne Tolley is still a Minister.

    Perhaps the hapless Gerry should go back to woodwork teaching.

  4. vto 4

    Though Brownlee has handled this appallingly I have some sympathy for him in trying to discuss an issue that is always so instantly heated and emotional that all rationality flies out the window.

    The facts have been lost in the yelling. The facts around the placement of the Paparoa boundary and the known resources there being one such example.

    It is so often the classic case of nimby syndrome. Bear in mind that the first thing that manwoman did when it was realised he or she had an opposing finger was to pick up a rock to use. (not that I was there to verify).

    Coromandel, you take the cake for wanting to foist all your mining needs onto other communities. Selfish pricks.

  5. Carol 5

    Vernon Small (on Stuff) reckons the backdown was the outcome of a divided Cabinet:


    It is understood Mr Key, backed by the Cabinet’s moderate faction normally including Transport Minister Steven Joyce and Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully over-rode those wanting to press ahead with moves they saw as an important feature of the party’s economic message.

    Now the decision is made, ministers are bound by collective responsibility and are expected to close ranks and publicly support the decision, which is expected to include guarantees of protection for national parks.

    • exbrethren 5.1

      This seems to me to be Key spin – Captain Beaky was very much behind this proposal to begin with. He’s now hanging Gerry out to dry, not that I feel any sympathy for sexy coal though. I’d guess the opposition was more likely Nick Smith and maybe English.

  6. DavidW 6

    Good to see a Cabinet that actually allows members to have an opinion and express that opinion. Don’t forget that the original report was an officials recommendation and was leaked before it even got near cabinet so it was never Government policy.

    What a great situation to be in where the public is listened to and such a far cry from earlier situations where a rod of iron skewered the cabinet and dissent was not allowed.

    • Carol 6.1

      DavidW, it seems you can happily take things at face value. Time will tell if you are correct. So far, I’m not convinced. I’m wondering about the succession of leaks over the last 24 hours, and their timing. So, for instance, who leaked about the division in Cabinet to Small, and why?

      • loota 6.1.1

        the ‘supposed’ division in Cabinet…

      • DavidW 6.1.2

        Well Carol, I am in fact a “glass half full” kinda guy and a very trusting soul by and large. I rarely count my change in a shop and unless I have my glasses on, can’t check the amount showing on the EFTPOS device.

        What I won’t tolerate is being cheated. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I have been taken advantage of and (touch wood) so far have avoided both a pinched and mean outlook and an ulcer.

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