Nats losing support over mining plan

Written By: - Date published: 10:18 am, March 28th, 2010 - 23 comments
Categories: Conservation, Environment, Mining - Tags: , ,

According to a poll in the the Sunday Star Times, John Key’s mining plan has turned off one in six National voters:

The proposal to allow limited mining in protected conservation areas has turned a significant number of National Party voters against the government, a poll of Sunday Star-Times readers’ has found.

The poll result, which shows one in six National voters are sufficiently upset by proposed changes to mining rules that they would not vote for the government “if an election were held tomorrow”, came as details of a major rift inside cabinet emerged.

Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee won the rift by muscling the mining plan through cabinet. The plan means Brownlee gets a say, along with Kate Wilkinson, on what mining should take plan in conservation areas. No wonder National’s voters are turning away in droves. Can you imagine Gerry Brownlee ever turning down a mining application on conservation land?

Brownlee, the energy and resources minister, is adamant that the conservation minister, currently Wilkinson, should no longer be the sole minister that signs off on applications to access conservation areas. Brownlee insisted the “relevant land-holding minister” such as himself also sign off on applications.

It is believed Wilkinson argued against the proposal but lost the battle.

Both ministers played down the stoush when contacted by the Star-Times last week.

Gerry Brownlee sounds like he’s got complete control over cabinet. That’s a worrying prospect.

Sources told the Star-Times that the government had not been spooked by the negative public reaction to the new proposals

The fact one in six National voters are considering switching in light of the mining plan isn’t worrying the Prime Minister! John Key is sounding very out of touch on the mining proposals.

This may be Key’s biggest mistake yet.

23 comments on “Nats losing support over mining plan”

  1. Geo 1

    I see a flip flop coming up!

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      Such a flip flop would cost them a lot of face, though.

      I think if the % return in royalties and to the local economy was much greater, then I wouldn’t necessarily be against this plan. But because the figures they’re talking about are trivial compared to the size of the economy, it really is a plain nutty idea.

    • I don’t think so Geo! Ian convinced that this was all settled bdefore the electIon.
      Brownlee let out what the Nats had had talks with mining interests before the election but do not say what was discussed. TV3/Nation.27/3.10
      I wonder if the Nats Trust Funds were increased ?
      However I nalso firmly believe that this is the big issue and if Labour and the Greens co-operate over this the

  2. Tigger 2

    Key revels in being a flip flipper. He’s used it to his advantage, painting it as being ‘responsive’. That said the real issue here is that mining, like whaling, is a heart issue. And it unites wide sections of the voting public. Key has to mine, his mining pals won’t let him back down completely. But mining will cost him suupport. He will, of course, say these one in five weren’t true Nat voters. He’ll bitch about them. It’s his personality type. Love me or I hate you.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    1 in 6 of National voters @ last election? That’s ~17%. That would drop Nationals support to ~37% from the 45% they had @ the election. It’s going to be interesting watching the polls over the next few months as I’m sure that they’ll be losing support from other policies. Wonder if Jonkey can beat Blinglish’s 2k2 defeat (how low can Jonkey go?).

    • Lew 3.1

      DTB, you’re working from the wrong set of numbers. National’s recent support (pre-mining controversy) is much stronger than it was at the election — in the region of 55%. A sixth off that is about 46% — roughly what they got at the election. Bearing in mind that 1/6 is probably somewhat exaggerated since talk is cheap at this stage of the electoral cycle, and the question didn’t ask who they’d vote for instead. I reckon they have to be concerned, but not too concerned just yet. A lot of other things come into the mix — a largely irrelevant Green party, two struggling coalition partners, Dunne under threat in his own electorate …

      L

  4. not sure how reliable the Sunday Star Times poll is but the only professionally taken nation wide poll was by UMR in 1997. 62% supported a ban on mining on conservation land on the Coromandel 22% opposed.

    Feed back from locals and visitors this summer suggests the opposition is unchanged , maybe stronger .

  5. Irascible 5

    I understand that SST poll was conducted by Neilsen using a sample from their contacts and the SST readers’ forum members. I would presume that this wasn’t a journalist’s cobbled together poll or a quck glance at the blogs favoritised on the journo’s computer.
    The figures quoted would have some qualified credibility from that I presume.

  6. Jerm 6

    Hopefully act impales on itself, the government is screwed, and an election is called tomorrow, rejoice

    • Lew 6.1

      Why would you want that? A few months ago at the time of the abortive coup, Key’s alleged response to the ACT rebels was “roll Hide, I’ll call an election, gain an outright majority, and you’ll all be fucked”. That’s still a pretty real possibility. Do you really want to risk the chance that the Nats gain a new mandate and complete freedom to act? If so, why?

      L

  7. gingercrush 7

    I found it interesting then that in the same poll more were in favour of mining on conservation land than was opposed. But then that question itself isn’t the best to be asking people anyway since we already mine on conservation land.

    Anyway while the right needs to be careful and realise there is real opposition to what they’re proposing and that it could be detrimental in 2011 as other issues could be as well. That they actually can’t be arrogant and think there will be no cost.The left too needs to remind themselves that while single issues can be emotional and may cause some voters to sway. Don’t start getting arrogant (as many people on the left here and elsewhere on the blogosphere are getting) and thinking with this and the Super City the left is going to get in. Such complacency is well pathetic.

    To be honest the way the left continues to behave post-2008 election is pathetic. Most of you still act like some day the voters will wake up before 2011 and Labour will be back in office. There seems to be little urgency exhibited by most of you. Just sit back and relax seems to be the motto. Good way to lose an election that is already and was always going to be difficult to win.

  8. Jum 8

    I’m worried about the wannabuys of dairy land who used to be a mining company.
    Umm. Is that their Plan B if the milk thing falls over? Or maybe they could be part of Key’s financial hub. One sheister supporting another.

  9. really 9

    The SST, a bastion of impartial research and reporting. In fact much like Mike Williams on a research trip to Australia pre election only the SST has more credibility which isn’t saying much is it.

  10. Julie 10

    I was surprised to see Brownlee being so hardcore about mining Great Barrier, I thought it was their sacrifice piece, with the added bonus that Kaye and Banks can claim the back down as their success.

    • mcflock 10.1

      My immediate guess is that he’s playing bad cop. It also will make it look like the final compromise of mining in the south island was a hard-fought victory over the greenies.

    • handle 10.2

      Yes they can only claim victory later if someone keeps on resisting now.

  11. Daveski 11

    I think this is a fascinating topic.

    On the one hand, the environmental issues tend to be much closer to the hearts of the middle classes. For example, the classic chardonnay socialist will be up in arms about the impact on the environment.

    Yet the blue collar worker will more likely wonder whether there will be a job in it and Labour again seems to be redefining itself as the party of the academic/liberal rather than the worker.

    I have no doubt that this type of decision will be unpopular altho once again it shows the problem of labelling the Government “do nothing”. Clearly it will always be an Government who do nothing most like here.

    While I don’t see this as a win for National, I don;t see it as a slam dunk for Labour either, especially in its core traditional constituencies.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 11.1

      So true. National have a large urban/rural divide in their party as seen by Nikki Kaye’s opposition to s.4 exclusion. I suspect the same applies to Maori issues.

    • I dreamed a dream 11.2

      Daveski- “Labour again seems to be redefining itself as the party of the academic/liberal rather than the worker.”

      I have always thought that Labour is the party of BOTH the academic/liberal AND the worker.

    • handle 11.3

      Mining creates few local jobs, even less than building more highways.

  12. Name 12

    Brownlee having control of the Cabinet is a worrying prospect but with a Prime Minister who’s little more than a grin in a suit, is it surprising? Key, like George W. Bush, is simply a dummy fronting for NZ’s Dick Cheneys.

  13. Jum 13

    Too much wine. I thought Name said Key was a dunny fronting for NZs Dick. sorry Name.

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