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Labour finally on board?

Written By: - Date published: 10:36 pm, August 27th, 2009 - 20 comments
Categories: activism, Environment, labour - Tags:

I was shocked but not surprised to hear that National are considering opening our National Parks up for mining. At the same time, I can’t help but feel an unfortunate sense of deja vu. Labour’s Conservation spokesperson David Parker is quoted by 3News today as saying:

We were certainly not told this before the election that parts of the conservation estate including national parks would have big coal mines on them. How absurd!

Indeed. How absurd that the government could decide to open up parts of our conservation estate for coal mining. What then, do Parker and the Labour Party feel about coal mining in Happy Valley on the West Coast, a beautiful pristine area on public conservation land?

The previous Labour Government chose not to intervene, despite having the power to do so with Solid Energy being a State Owned Enterprise. Labour’s Conservation Minister at the time, Chris Carter was in fact all in favour of the Happy Valley mine. Carter approved permits under the Wildlife Act for the rare, native Powelliphanta ‘Augustus’ snails to be removed from most of what was left of their natural habitat, thereby allowing the mining to go ahead. This was despite recommendations from his own department – DoC’s snail expert Kath Walker advised that moving the snails would likely result in their extinction.

Instead of protecting our conservation estate, Labour were complacent in the spying on Save Happy Valley, the group protesting the Happy Valley coal mine. Labour’s Minister of SOE’s at the time, Trevor Mallard, warned Solid Energy to stop employing private investigation firm Thompson & Clark, but took no further action when they were ousted for spying on activists for the second time by investigative journalist Nicky Hager.

Now Labour is seemingly taking a strong stand against coal mines on our conservation estate, and so they should. In my opinion however, the first step along the way would be to apologise to Save Happy Valley, and join their campaign against the Happy Valley coal mine. That would be a good start in signaling to the present National Government that further destruction of our heritage is not worth the hassle.

20 comments on “Labour finally on board? ”

  1. John 1

    Awesome post Rocky – couldnt agree with you more 🙂

  2. spot 2

    Well called.

  3. Galeandra 3

    Agreed, a bunch of complacent solipsistic buggers Labour were.
    And look at the juggernaut with teeth they’ve left us exposed to now.

    PS is it true that the powelliphanta population moved is actually fading away, as was suggested on radio news today?

  4. BLiP 4

    The meek shall inherit the Earth – excluding the mineral rights thereunder.

  5. Red Rosa 5

    Interesting to see that National have resumed the High Country Hijack too.

    Kept the rentals down to State House levels, and flogging off prime lakeside real estate for grazing prices………great stuff.

    • George D 5.1

      Ah, yes, National is continuing the Great High Country Giveaway, a longstanding Labour Party tradition.

  6. So Bored 6

    Minings what NZ does, grass mining for protein, rip shit and bust on everything. No balance so long as you can extract the dollar. Labour dont think any differently.

    • vto 6.1

      Exactly mrs bored.. see my post on the 100% thread

      • So Bored 6.1.1

        Mr Bored actually VTO. You are right that farming can be environmentally more unfriendly than mining. Looking at your 100% thread its fine but for the long term impact.

        I have never seen a mining company that restores the environment or pays for the damage, nor have I ever seen a sustainable mine. Once the minerals are gone all that is there is a scarred area and no work for anybody.

  7. Although to be fair, there were substantial measure taken in Happy Valley to ensure that mining itself had as little an impact on the local wildlife.

    For example thanks to the campaigning by save happy valley many of the rare indigenous snails, threatened by the mine, were relocated with the intent of moving them back once mining had finished. The same was done with much of the local vegetation.

    • So Bored 7.1

      James,

      latest reports indicate that the snails are not handling the move, extinction beckons. Who cares? Just another species gone.

  8. Maynard J 8

    Hi rocky, got a question around this, because the first Iheard of this was in the radio this morning and I immediately thought of the Stockton mine (where on earth is ‘Happy Valley’ btw, I have never heard of the name and it is not on any map I have ever seen).

    What was the land gazetted as before the mines were announced? I gather it must not have been schedule 4, because that land was protected under Labour.

    • felix 8.1

      From Wikipedia:

      The name of Happy Valley on the West Coast is not officially recognised by the Geographic Naming Board. It is located approximately 10 km due east of Waimangaroa at the headwaters of the Waimangaroa River.

  9. no leftie 9

    “there were substantial measures taken in Happy Valley to ensure that mining itself had as little an impact as possible”

    And that’s just what National will do as well.

    Great post!

  10. George D 10

    Aw come on Rocky, you’re being too hard on Labour. Of course they’re on board. They’re always on board when National is doing it, when they’re in opposition

    • Rob A 10.1

      Lets be fair to Labour, its alot easier to be a critic when you’re not making the decisions. As soon as they are back in office it will be business as usual.

  11. Maynard J 11

    Perhaps you can answer my question above George D. Was Pike River or Stockton on schedule 4 land? I assume it must have been. I am trying to see what exactly the precedent there was and you are making it fairly apparent that there is a clear one…

  12. Swampy 12

    Save Happy Valley is a bunch of extremists who should not be surprised that Labour doesn’t want to play with them.

    • BLiP 12.1

      Okay, if trying to prevent the unnecessary extinction of a life form is extreme, then what is trying to make “100% Pure New Zealand” the country’s “master brand” while running great diesel bulldozers through national parks?

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