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Enviro commissioner: end miners’ free-ride in DoC estate

Written By: - Date published: 10:23 am, September 23rd, 2010 - 23 comments
Categories: Environment, Mining - Tags:

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright has released her Mining the Conservation Estate report. Among other important points, it hits on an issue that was raised by writers on The Standard during the Schedule 4 fight. Why is it that miners get to mine on conservation estate without paying any lease for the use of land? No private land owner would give away their land like that, why should we as taxpayers?

No wonder the mining lobby is so keen to get their dirty mitts on our conservation estate – it’s not the minerals it holds (most of our minerals are under private land) so much as the ability to mine rent-free and pocket the profits.

Naturally, the miners are insisting that nothing needs to be changed.

Remember, the fight over mining on the conservation estate isn’t over. Having being forced, kicking and screaming, to back down on opening up Schedule 4 land, the Government is looking at the rest of the conservation estate instead.

My position has always been that outside Schedule 4 mining may have a place on areas of low conservation value providing the miner pays a bond for restoring or improving the land once the mining is done as well as paying for using our land. And providing that digging up these one-off endowments now makes more sense than holding on to them for the future. And, of course, it has to be shown that the national benefit outweighs any loss to other users of the land and New Zealand’s international image.

These ought to be bare minimum requirements. Our natural heritage should not become a lolly scramble for miners.

23 comments on “Enviro commissioner: end miners’ free-ride in DoC estate ”

  1. TightyRighty 1

    if they are mining for private gain, ie not a nationalised mining company, then they should pay market rate for the land, plus extra if the area has conservation value, and then royalties can be discussed. bludgers of any sort need to have their hands evicted from the pocket of the taxpayer. it might also be you get your wish marty of no mining on conservation land through market forces. wouldn’t that be galling?

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      I don’t think Marty would be ‘galled’ by the market being forced to take all costs into account when proceeding on a new venture, instead of socialising the cost as they like to do. If anything, that is exactly what Marty is proposing in this post anyway.

    • Bored 1.2

      It might help if all market based companies were made to pay the true transfer costs on every part of their operations, for example mining companies damage to the environment should be rectified as part of the costs. The reality is that companies will do whatever they have to in order to externalise costs and increase profits. Without drawing any moral or political conclusion it is in the nature of companies to do whatever they can to drive the bottom line.

      I am not so sure that the market “saving” conservation estate from mining is desirable, something more permanent would please me more, like a total ban. What saved the Rakaia from water abstraction for border dyke irrigation in the 80s was Rogers market based user pays regime….sort of ironic in a way to see sheep farmers wincing as government subsidies went and they could not afford the capital schemes. As you are aware times have changed and now the dairy boom makes water abstraction “economic” (if you ignore again the transfer costs such as species extinction, lost revenue to other businesses etc). Thats the problem with relying on markets to save conservation estate.

      • TightyRighty 1.2.1

        of course it would please you more to ban something, anything, everything. I took that as a given.

        • felix

          Ban everything? How would…

        • bbfloyd

          TR.. do you have a point to make? or are assumptions based on assumptions your stock in trade nowadays.

          • TightyRighty

            your attention span is is alarmingly short bb. if you can’t remember what you read from the top of the comments, it might be time to stop accusing people of not having a point. it makes you look senile.

        • Bored

          No, bans should be very rare….they seem to be common to Nact legislation like banning democracy in Chch for as long as it suits them, banning employees rights, the list goes on. RWNJs call it legislation…it is still a ban.

          • TightyRighty

            light bulbs, shower pressure, correctve force for the purposes of discipling a child. call it legislation, it’s still a ban.

            how come my examples actually, or nearly, happened and your examples are just spin? can’t you think of anything that the nats actually banned. I can.

            • IrishBill

              cellphones in cars, doing laps in your lowered skyline, pseudoephedrine…

            • NickS

              …correctve forceassault for the purposes of discipling a child…


              Human Rights, please learn what the fuck they are.

              And just to be pedantic, the S59 repeal merely made illegal to beat the crap out of children, rather than banning smacking, but hey, why let reality get in the way of your bullshitting?

            • RedLogix

              shower pressure

              Sighs… it was flow limiting, not pressure.

              In the old days shower heads were designed to work with the very low pressures attained with header tanks. But with virtually all domestic hot water installations now at, or close to, mains pressure… these old shower heads generally passed far more water than was necessary for a satisfactory shower.

              A few years back I did a rough calculation showing that the average city could likely reduce it’s total water consumption by around 10-15% simply by replacing all old heads with new ones.

              And that’s not counting the similar 15% reduction in most people’s power bill.

              But the facts were never relevant; the entire beat-up was just another bit of brain-dead right wing politics. As evidenced by the fact that all you remember of it is the 2sec sound bite with wrong information.

            • Mac1

              I can. Ecan.

  2. tc 2

    What a joke this mob are….if you want to catch up with Oz go and look at what’s happening to their mining industry……extra taxes/surcharges over and above the norm to recognise the one time extraction of minerals is just that, they’re gone for good.

    Mining pays to explore wherever and must renew lease tenements to state governments or forfeit the right in comparison to Browncoals ‘free to a good home’ approach….that brighter future eh.

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