Mr Brownlee, I have to confess, you’ve got me scratching my head. In Parliament yesterday, you pulled a strange defence of the government’s policy of opening specially protected lands to mining:
the member may be interested to know that in policy 10.8(b) of that document it states: ‘Proposed access arrangements to prospect, explore or mine in national parks will be considered on a case-by-case basis’. It is very interesting to note that in 2005 the previous Labour Government approved exactly the policy that the National-led Government is advocating nowâ€”that is, considering the mining of conservation land on a case by case basis.
Gee, Gerry, if Labour had already permitted mining in Schedule 4 land, why the need to withdraw the areas you want to mine from Schedule 4? How can your policy be some miraculous new concept that you say will boost the economy if its nothing new? Could it be that you’re lying, again, that Labour’s policy doesn’t allow mining on Schedule 4 land? Wouldn’t that be consistent with the fact that Labour issued no permits for mining on Schedule 4 land?
And, Gerry, I’m confused about about another thing you said:
One of the interesting anomalies in all of this is that right now anybody can theoretically go and get a permit to prospect on schedule 4 lands. There are three permit categories: prospecting, exploring, and mining. Mining is prohibited, exploring is prohibited, but prospecting is not. People can get a prospecting permit for those lands and can go out there and dig to their heart’s content.
That sounds like a misrepresentation and, anyway, that nice man Mr Key said:
“It strikes me that the [Parliamentary] commissioner [for the Environment] was making a very circular argument. The commissioner was saying that we should remove land only where the mineral value outweighs the conservation values. Actually we cannot determine that unless we do remove things from schedule 4.” [which Goff called “dig it up first, then ask questions”]
You’re saying that anyone can already prospect and even, to use your words, “dig to their heart’s content” on Schedule 4 while your leader is saying we can’t mine or even know what is under the land until it is removed from Schedule 4.
Which is it?
Do.. do any of you clowns actually know?