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Nats’ last gasp counter-attack falls flat

Written By: - Date published: 6:18 pm, March 25th, 2010 - 57 comments
Categories: Conservation, Mining - Tags: , , ,

I thought that National’s counter-attack would be to paint Labour as anti-mining – ‘they’re abandoning their roots’ ‘they’re anti progress’ etc etc. But, oddly, they’ve opted (first in the House, duly repeated on the party blogs) for a hypocrisy angle – ‘Labour used to say they liked mining, now they don’t’.

Dumb move because Labour has a watertight and truthful response: Labour is not anti any and all mining. Never has been. It recognises that we need raw materials for an industrial economy. Or as David Parker puts it:

“We have always and will continue to support mining where appropriate on non-Schedule 4 lands”

What Labour has always said is that mining must be environmentally responsible and can’t take place on areas of special natural value. Those areas are the ones in Schedule Four and include most (but not all) of the National Parks and some other areas of the conversation estate. Labour has always agreed with environmentally responsible mining on private land and conservation estate outside of Schedule 4.

That used to be National’s position too. Indeed it was National that introduced Schedule 4 (because they were afraid a Labour private member’s bill with the same effect would pass).

Now, National is saying that miners should be allowed on Schedule 4 land, despite 90% of the country’s mineral wealth being outside the Schedule 4 areas that National wants to remove and not having any idea of the value of the minerals in those areas to the New Zealand economy or the environmental cost.

Think about it. If this policy wasn’t a change to existing Labour policy, then there would be no announcement and no new controversy.

Labour supports responsible mining, not the Nats’ dig and pray on our most precious land.

Only one party has changed its position here.

57 comments on “Nats’ last gasp counter-attack falls flat ”

  1. vto 1

    Is your light brown meant to be dark brown?

    • Also, the picture is on the front page, but not currently on the post itself.

      • vto 1.1.1

        Marty you’re such a sausage.

      • Marty G 1.1.2

        Yeah I made it that way Graeme. That a problem for you?

        • Graeme Edgeler 1.1.2.1

          Well, I read vto’s comment, and then scrolled up to see what he or she was talking about and couldn’t see it. A problem? Not really. But it would have been helpful to have it on both.

        • Graeme Edgeler 1.1.2.2

          And now it’s really small =)

          Also, I believe your graph is wrong – it suggests that some parts of our National Parks are not in schedule 4. All land that is part of a National Park is schedule 4 land.

          Ref:http://legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1991/0070/latest/DLM247378.html

          • Marty G 1.1.2.2.1

            Large parts of Paparoa aren’t in it Schedule 4. They weren’t included after lobbying from miners.

            http://www.med.govt.nz/upload/71960/Map%204%20-%20Paparoa%20National%20Park.jpg

            • Graeme Edgeler 1.1.2.2.1.1

              My apologies. That’s kinda weird.

              The first thing listed in schedule 4 is:
              “All land within a national park held and administered under the National Parks Act 1980.”

              Later it lists:
              “The following national parks or parts of national parks constituted under the National Parks Act 1980:

              (e) Paparoa National Park eastern additions (Gazette 28 March 2002, p 807, excluding Area “”B'” shown on SO 302281 (formerly part Section 1, SO 15152)):
              (f) Paparoa National Park western additions (Gazette 25 July 2002, p 2317)

              That first bit really seemed to cover it. Who knew that there was a difference between National Parks administered under the National Parks Act, and National Parks constituted under the National Parks Act? Well, you, obviously, but certainly not me!

    • Marty G 1.2

      the overlap between national parks and schedule 4 is dark, the lighter part of the brown circle shows that parts of the conservation estate that aren’t national parks are also in schedule 4.

      Do you understand now son? I mean I drew you a venn diagram like something out of primary school so that even the most simple minds would get the picture.

  2. B 2

    Maybe this will be National’s downfall – there really isn’t much of a defence for such an unpopular move. Bring on the next election. lets hope not too much of our native bush is laid to waste in the meantime.

  3. Lew 3

    Marty, Phil Goff was on the wireless this morning speaking against mining anywhere in the DOC estate. The policy might not have changed, but the rhetoric sure has. (I agree with the new position, FWIW — but Labour is perhaps exaggerating for emphasis).

    L

    • mpsaremorons 3.1

      So is labour suggesting they’re going to roll back all the licences they issued during the last government ?

      Is the mining industry the new ‘banking” when it comes to demonisation ?

    • Marty G 3.2

      Nah, Lew. He was just using a short-hand for a non-technical audience. Listen to all his and labour’s other statements and they have been specifically talking about ‘our most treasured places’ and ‘schedule 4’

  4. andy (the other one) 4

    Hooten was on with willie and JT and he said (quote) “National have handled this badly”, so you know from that quote that the polling is terrible.

    • vto 4.1

      Fools

    • gingercrush 4.2

      I doubt there have been polls done yet. Even if there have been they won’t be that meaningful as they wouldn’t have been analysed properly or anything. Hooten is from the world of PR. National sold it badly. In terms of public reactions its been a disaster for National. That is what Hooten will be talking about it.

      In saying that while your post may well be correct. National today looked much more solid with their lines and attack. Much more credible all round. If they act like they did today. Then perhaps they can sell it. I just can’t see them not bumbling again unfortunately.

      • Marty G 4.2.1

        ginger. trust me on this. curia will have been polling by now. they ought to have been polling before the announcement.

        • Irascible 4.2.1.1

          The SST was polling through Neilsen on this for a story in the paper this weekend. They were looking for opinion as well. The polls must be swinging!!

      • mickysavage 4.2.2

        It is a really stupid idea. It is not a matter of PR or opinion polls. It is really stupid. We should lift the debate up into the merits and away from the political implications and talk about the economic benefit to the country (little), the damage to the clean green image (considerable) and the damage to the environment (extensive).

        National looking solid means they got their CT lines right. This is a sad substitute for real leadership.

        • Lew 4.2.2.1

          No, it needs to go up beyond the merits and the cost-benefit analysis and into the principles and symbolic issues.

          In a public cost-benefit analysis of intangible versus tangible wealth, money always talks. When you can’t put a price on something, all too often the ledger price in a CBA like this is zero. Going into an actual opposed CBA is little better. If the level of public discourse around mining the Schedule 4 country is +$x in mineral wealth versus -$y in tourism money, where x and y are almost infinitely malleable, then ultimately the miners will win, because it’ll be “oh, a little bit here, a little bit there”, until opening new mines becomes a procedural, humdrum matter and we find that there’s nothing left unmined. Put more succinctly: if you try to tackle a non-economic issue in economic terms, the only winners are those who want it to be framed as an economic issue.

          This is why it’s so good that Labour’s “yours, not mines” campaign is symbolic and identity-based in the first place. The government and the mining lobby don’t want this to be about intangibles, pride, belonging or national identity, and that’s precisely why it’s necessary to make them defend this idea in those terms. The CBA stuff is there as a strong fallback position, and that’s where it needs to remain for now.

          L

      • Tigger 4.2.3

        UMR polled me on Sunday about it. And whaling.

  5. jcuknz 5

    Having a left-wing media doesn’t help towards sensible discussion when they keep on showing the mining pits again and again and again. I guess it is hard to find interesting shots in a tunnel. At least the major newspaper editorials are talking sense. Obviously we don’t want ‘Wahi’s all over, or even on postcards, of Code 4 areas. But if it makes ecconomic sense then it should go ahead with respect for the areas concerned. The left are crying wolf before they are hurt. It is not going to happen tomorrow but rather years if not decades down the track.

    • Lew 5.1

      JC, the ‘sensible discussion’ you and Brownlee refer to seems to revolve around the question of how much it would be worth to start mining the most precious places in our country. How much revenue would the mining have to generate before it became worth it?

      So if everything has a price (as opposed to a value), how much would you want for your grandmother?

      L

      • Madnessinc 5.1.1

        “So if everything has a price (as opposed to a value), how much would you want for your grandmother?”

        Filthy wrinkly perv !

    • vto 5.2

      yes that’s right. It’s not as if any mining corp is going to trust the word of any politician..

    • lprent 5.3

      I don’t think you understand the nature of mining for gold, silver or rare earths. Otherwise you wouldn’t be fooled by this crap ‘surgical mining’ PR line that brownlee is pushing. Their yield is grams per tonne chemically extracted. There is no other way of doing them apart from open-cast. The mines are really big, really messy, and affect

      The tunnel mines these days are all for concentrated resources like coal.

      But brownlee is pretty much proposing doing gold, silver and rare earth mining through many of the schedule 4 estate….

      • vto 5.3.1

        lprent that is not correct re needing to open cast for gold. See my post down the bottom fwiw.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 5.4

      yeah right , the ‘tunnels’ are in a minority now , as they will be in the future. But what about the tailings, no matter which way there is a big pile of cyanide contaminated earth . For Gold unlike Coal only a minute fraction of the excavations is removed for sale

  6. Luke.xensen 6

    If Labour did support mining so much, whats with National’s new policy then? The Nats seem to be suggesting Labour was very anti mining and pro-mining at the same time. Wtf? It doesnt make sense.

    • Marty G 6.1

      exactly. If Labour has been doing all along what National is doing now then National isn’t proposing anything new eh?

      The truth, of course, is that Labour was allowing responsible mining on non-Schedule 4 land, the Nats want to allow it on Schedule 4 land.

      Schedule 4 was created specifically to save special areas from mining.

      • Neil 6.1.1

        surely if there can be responsible mining on some conservation land, as you say, then there may be an argument for some responsible mining on some Sch 4 land. Politicians made judgement calls about what land should go and what should not go into Sch 4. Surely those judgements can be reviewed. Perhaps some goes in, some goes out.

        • Lew 6.1.1.1

          Perhaps so. But to have any credibility, that process needs to be clear and transparent, and utterly independent from the mining agenda. in other words, it can’t happen now, and it can’t happen until after the issue has been put to bed.

          L

          • Neil 6.1.1.1.1

            If I was a conspiracy theorist I’d say this is all a massive excercise in shifting the goal posts. Who would’ve thought there’d be such glowing accounts of mining on conservation land at The Standard as Marty G’s.

        • Marty G 6.1.1.2

          Neil. Do you know what Schedule 4 is? (it’s in the post)

          It was set up specifically to exclude special land from mining.

          The land doesn’t get into Schedule 4 if there can be responsible mining on it.

          • Neil 6.1.1.2.1

            It’s excluded beacause of specific environmental values not because it’s impossible to mine responsibly. Mining responsibly is a product of the mining process. Hence a mining operation could either be repsonsible or not depending on how it’s run.

            • Marty G 6.1.1.2.1.1

              learn about the process, Neil. You’re embarrassing yourself.

              They don’t chuck just any land in Schedule 4, it’s land they have decided must be protected from the impact of any mining. No mining is impact-free.

              • Neil

                yes do I do gather that, but you do appear to agree that it is ok that some conservation land, that would otherwise be protected, is mined for economic gain.

                There’s no reason not to apply that to Sch 4. At some point a govt decided to put particular land into the schedule, I don’t see why that can’t be reviewed.

                We protect some land from mining, what we protect is a conscious decsion that involves a few value judgements. It’s not written in stone.

              • Neil

                I do like Labour’s campaign visual showing how a mine operation can co-exist with native forest. After post-mine closure relandscaping it all should look quite good.

                I wonder if this was photoshopped from one of those responsible mines on conservation land.

              • Pascal's bookie

                Non s4 conservation land is hardly protected at all from mining Neil, (glad you agree that it should be though).That’s the whole point of s4. That’s why it was set up.

                It’s about protecting the intrinsic values of the most valuable lands on the one hand, and eliminating the risks to habitats on the other. Neither of which can be done with mining of any sort. That’s why they would have to remove it from s4 in order to mine it. If land can be removed from s4 on the basis that you think there might be something shiney in there, then what protection does being in s4 give? No protection at all.

                It’s awesome how proponents have got no arguments beyond things that completely misstate the facts, use made up numbers, or involve pictures of Mallard in a hard hat.

                Where’s this rational debate we were told they wanted? Instead we just get yahoos and boring contrarian trolls.

  7. toad 7

    Marty, if you are doing Venn diagrams and expect right wingers to understand them, you don’t just colour them and provide an abstract key to the colours.

    Righties will never make the association, because they think only linearly, rather than laterally.

    If you want righties to understand your diagram, you need to insert the description of each cell within the cell itself, and the the description of multiple cells inserted to fall across all of the multiple cells it describes.

    Sorry for adopting a hectoring tone Marty, but you need to accept that righties’ brains function very differently from ours, and post accordingly if you are to persuade the looser righties of the political and economic inadequacy of what they have been persuaded to sign up to.

      • vto 7.1.1

        yeah yeah funny funny. Said venn diagram is still wrong.

        And also, there is much comment above about the inappropriateness of tunnel mining for gold and silver. This is simply not correct.

        At the moment in Waihi Newmont has the open cast pit but you may not know that in fact undergound tunnel mining (surgical I suppose) goes from the base of this pit and has been for some time.

        Newmont also has the favona mine right beside its processing plant just outside Waihi, near the tailings mountain. This really is surgical. It is a small opening in a hillside in a paddock. The tunnel burrows down to below sea-level and has surgically removed this massive gold-bearing lode. It is like a small town down there with huge low trucks and diggers and drillers roaring around everywhere. I know – I’ve been down there a couple of times.

        The golden cross mine also near Waihi and no longer operating also had some underground miing.

        In addition many many of the mines from the olden days were tunnels. The shafts and drives can still easily be found in the Coro bush.

        Surgical mining for gold has been done in the past, is being done right now, and will without doubt be done again. In the coromandel. For better or worse.

          • vto 7.1.1.1.1

            yes yes thats right. But scroll out and look around… what appears green (farms) is similar to tailings mountains wrt the amount of native ecological damage wrought. There are thousands of tailings piles equivalents courtesy of farms.

            Plus, if you ever visit west coast and see recent and past open cut alluvial mining and resultant tailings and pits/cuts what you see is regenerating bush or productive farmland. Often the scrubby or poor farm land which is mined is restored to a superior position to that prior to mining.

            Don’t get me wrong, that schedule 4 stuff is a political thingy and a bit smelly, but there a few incorrections floating around about mining and its reality.

            p.s. the venn’s light and brown colours are not correct

        • Bright Red 7.1.1.2

          on the venn diagram. It says:

          “all the conservation estate is in New Zealand,
          all national parks are in the conservation estate,
          all schedule 4 land is in the conservation estate,
          some land is both schedule 4 and national park,
          some land is national park but not schedule 4 (parts of Paparoa spring to mind),
          some schedule 4 land is outside national parks”

  8. Pascal's bookie 8

    Case in point for the rational discussion we were promised.

    Hooten in today’s NBR begins:

    The Wellington establishment’s reaction to John Key’s mining proposal was predictably appalling: viscerally negative, deliberately ignorant and in the case of The Economist ‘s local stringer, rumoured to be a Fairfax columnist downright treacherous.

    None of these charges are supported by the article of course. That would be too rational.

    He then unleashes his inner lunatic:

    Know thy enemy
    National may also have misunderstood its enemies. The people who run environmental groups are not primarily conservationists but vehicles for the far left.

    With at least 100 million dead as a direct result of Marxist economics and Leninist politics, they camouflage their true creed with “peace, ‘ “social justice” and “the environment”.

    Take Forest & Bird ‘s Kevin Hackwell: In the mid-1980s, with Nicky Hager, and just as President Reagan’s strategy to bring the Soviet Union to the table was working, he was instrumental in establishing the so-called “Peace Movement Aotearoa” to spread anti-Americanism, anti-Westernism, pacifism and anti-nuclearism. His so-called “Just Defence” organisation sought to sabotage the Anzac ships programme.

    More recently, Mr Hackwell was instrumental in promoting MMP, destroying the West Coast forestry industry, costing Solid Energy $50 million moving snails around the South Island, promoting various social justice” issues and assisting Mr Hager with his polemic, Secret Power, aimed at subverting the Western antiterror network.

    He is associated with Pete Bethune, currently awaiting trial in Japan on piracy charges.

    Can anyone explain why the media takes Hooten seriously?

    • Rhinocrates 8.1

      The NBR pays him to say what the editor and his friends want him to say, his targeted readers like him because of the usual reaction to people who use extreme rhetoric: “He’s a bit over the top, but it needs to be said” (I’m sure that was behind a lot of the support for Winston Peters’ and Don Brash’s talk on race); “See! I always knew, and he has the courage to say it!”… and as for the rest of the MSM, he’s an easily identifiable right-wing figure to provide “balance” and the man guaranteed to give a soundbite. “Balance” has nothing to do with reason for the MSM, all it means is that if an opinion exists, then for the news to be “balanced”, an opposing viewpoint must be presented, no matter how insane. As we know from The Hollow Men, even Hooten’s mates think he’s thick and full of himself. No one really takes him seriously except himself, but it doesn’t matter.

      • Lanthanide 8.1.1

        I recall some ‘balance’ on immunisation rates on the radio was a woman saying that because child mortality rates have fallen so dramatically over the last century, immunisation of children is no longer required…

    • RascallyRabbit 8.2

      I think The Economist is far to respectable to be employing supercilious 1st year graduates from Fairfax to write on New Zealand environmental policies – I am sure they can find plenty of them in London.

      Hooten = Douche

    • Bright Red 8.3

      “in the case of The Economist ‘s local stringer, rumoured to be a Fairfax columnist downright treacherous.”

      The writer was an Australian. If anything he ought to have an interest in Aussie mining companies ripping up land on the far side of the tasman from him.

      Shows what a wingnut Hooten is.

      • Tigger 8.3.1

        Hooten, of course, misses the point entirely. It’s not these ‘extremists’ (who actually sound quite centrist to me) who National are up against. It’s Joe and Jill Public.

  9. gobsmacked 9

    Here’s the Taranaki Daily News, another voice from the National heartland which has suddenly become a hotbed of left-wing extremism (as Hooton would doubtless claim):

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/opinion/3502241/Editorial-The-rush-for-fools-gold

    Ouch.

  10. IrishBill 10

    I didn’t like it when Labour extended mining but this “they started it” defense national and its blogger use so often is just a joke. Say what you like about the last lot they had more dignity than the current bunch of clowns.

  11. madnessinc 11

    “Say what you like about the last lot they had more dignity than the current bunch of clowns.”

    Some of the last lot did a good job, but I’d hesitate to associate the names Mallard, Field, Benson Pope and Tizzard with the word dignity.

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