Not a time for mixed messages

Written By: - Date published: 1:34 pm, May 3rd, 2010 - 26 comments
Categories: Conservation, labour, Mining, national, phil goff - Tags: ,

I’m still on Cloud 9 after the massive anti-mining march on Saturday – the biggest single protest march in NZ since 1938. By any measure this was a huge show of public opinion and strength.

The left now has to play its cards carefully. For example, this is not a time for mixed messages. Here’s Phil Goff in The Herald this morning:

The Labour Party says it expects the Government to back off the prospect of mining on Great Barrier Island and in Coromandel in the wake of one of the biggest protest marches in New Zealand’s recent history. … “They [the Government] have got to back down from both Great Barrier Island and the Coromandel,” Mr Goff said.

No! This wasn’t a march about Great Barrier and the Coromandel, this was a march about New Zealand. Phil, don’t dilute the message and leave the Nats with any wriggle room. Labour’s actual position is perfectly clear, from the same article, Labour “has pledged to return any land removed from Schedule Four”. (On Red Alert Trevor Mallard is even more blunt.) So why the mixed messages? There is only one message to take to the public now – no mining on any Schedule 4 land!

There is a tightrope to be walked however. Ideally the political left would stay focused on the issue here, and not turn this into a personality based pissing match. I for one am hoping not to see talk of the government being “defeated” or “forced to back down” or “flip-flopping”. Stay clearly on focus — no mining on Schedule 4 land — but don’t make it personal, or the Nats will dig in (so to speak) for all the wrong reasons. So my plea to fellow lefties, don’t let the desire for a political “win” derail the real goal, a good outcome for the environment.

26 comments on “Not a time for mixed messages”

  1. HitchensFan 1

    Good post, R0B. Agreed. No mixed messages and no pissing matches. JUST NO MINING ON SCHEDULE 4 LAND!! End of story.

    • Monty 1.1

      Where was the protest from your lot when Labour granted licences to mine on DoC land during their tenure in Government?

      • Pascal's bookie 1.1.1

        You mean like the Save Happy Valley Coalition and people like that?

        And schedule 4 in the mining act. Learn about it. It’s relevant.

      • lprent 1.1.2

        I think that we’ve already covered that? Have you found the mythical list of mining licenses yet?

        Were any on Schedule 4 land?

        That is what the protest and the discussion are about…

      • ghostwhowalksnz 1.1.3

        whre were you Monty when the National govt indroduced the schedule4 land category.
        This ‘DOC land’ is just nonsense. There is no such thing. The areas that are not National Parks , or other parks or S4 are ‘crown land’. DOC is merely the agency who look after it all.

  2. I agree with you r0b. The message is simple and can be continually repeated – no mining on schedule 4 land.

    It may be best for goff to stay out of this one.

  3. Lew 3

    The key is to make political capital out of not making political capital out of the dispute. That’s a tricky thing to do. The temptation to crow will be great. Especially since victories have been rare and meagre for Labour in the past few years.


  4. the biggest single protest march in NZ since 1938.

    I came remember some doozies in the early 1980s against Nuclear Ship visits and the Springbok tour that I am pretty sure were much bigger.

    But I was younger and more impressionable then!

    I agree with Hitchensfan and the message NO MINING ON SCHEDULE 4 LAND. Period.

  5. lprent 5

    Good post. Hopefully the various political parties will take notice. Otherwise we should take this message to our respective parties and give them a sharp prod. Brownlee appears to be stupid enough to want to go ahead with his daft policies just because there is opposition. He has some very Muldoonist traits without the sharp political intelligence.

    One of the the things that you see looking at the stunned mullet reactions of the right over the last couple of days is that their organising techniques are out of date again. Anyone who talks about ‘rent-a-mob’ is living in the last century if they think that you get this number of people out using the small group of strongly politically interested (my guess is less than 10k people across the whole country and across all political affiliations :twisted:).

    From what I saw. Most of the people on this march appeared because they were on mailing lists for all sorts of organisations or they saw the advertising in various media, or a friend commented on it. They just came along. The vast majority didn’t appear to be associated with any group, and their placards were quite ‘inventive’.

  6. ianmac 6

    Well said Rob: “Stay clearly on focus — no mining on Schedule 4 land — but don’t make it personal!”
    The only problem is how to make it stay a fresh issue. And protect Stewart Island and other protected places. And Canterbury water!

  7. Anne 7

    Hear, hear Rob.

  8. gobsmacked 8

    I don’t think it’s a mixed message. It’s a clear message.

    Everybody knows where the Coromandel is. Nobody knows where Schedule 4 is.

    Just as everybody knew (or thought they did, which amounts to the same thing) what smacking was. Nobody* knew what Section 59 was.

    Nobody* knows what the Foreshore and Seabed is. Everybody knows what a beach is (answer: not the Foreshore and Seabed, but has that stopped years of TV footage of families on beaches, every time F & S is in the news?).

    Goff isn’t changing Labour’s policy. He’s using the voters’ language.

    Clear communication is what Labour have been bad at. It’s been improving lately, and I’m glad.

    *note for pedants: “Nobody” is used for effect, not literal truth. Relax.

  9. Herodotus 9
    Rob great numbers BUT “the biggest single protest march in NZ since 1938. ” > Another eexample of the message is more important than the substance.
    So we agree when public oponion displayed agrees with “our” outlook of the world. So re S59 with the vast majority who voted for a change, there is a reason NOT to follow support. There appears to me some duplicity here and cherry picking.
    For me social issues should be based on public oponion, The mining of NZ has some minor economic effect on NZ BUT for me the way we present ourselves and values we hold dear make this social more than economic.
    Re rent a mob did not Helen also try this approach regarding the Electrial Fin march. Good to see that lessons have been well learnt when dealing with minimizing opposition to the govt.
    Another Nat = Lab in dismissing the Kiwi voter.

  10. CnrJoe 10

    Ah ffs. The message is LOUD&clear.
    No. None. Tourism not mines. Virgin land in a bicycle tracked befringed chastity belt please.
    Speaking of cycling…..
    This msg brought to you free of hyperlinky thingys.

  11. Scott 11

    Goff’s words are pretty clear.

    I suspect only a few dozen people (mostly on the left and mostly already Labour voters) are going to dissect Phil Goff’s words in order to find a message other than “no conservation mining thanks”.

  12. Jum 12

    Notice the language being bandied about. Everyone is emotional if they don’t agree with the mining interests. Let’s be rational. Blah blah blah.

    Frankly, emotion is what makes a country great, that makes it want to succeed, do better, get the best for our children’s children.

    Any so called visionary politician was always one that had the power to influence, to change. That’s emotion.

    The mining PR man on Radio New Zealand talked about Lucy ‘mouthing’ off. That is such arrogant male talk. It is also emotion. Someone needs to tell the mining industry that New Zealanders, men and women, care more about New Zealand’s future than their profit margins, and that women are allowed to speak and to have an opinion. When matched with the ‘incoherent’ report and the unknown benefits to New Zealand/New Zealanders (remember Waihi’s unemployed – where did that money go?) they have a nerve telling anti mining interests that they’re emotional. The rabid slavering of bankers as they count their money they have stolen from us and the mining companies as they circle New Zealand like big whites is much more frightening to watch, I’d say.

    Lucy talked about working for mining business and that they don’t clean up after themselves. I want to know more about that.

    We can thank the last government for putting our spirit back and enduring the worst decade of concentrated verbal lies, personal insults, biased reporting against them on our behalf. Let’s thank them for what they did do, not for the things they might have done wrong, by winning these battles for our untarnished nature, our water rights and our workers’ rights to be backed by government to build up New Zealand.

  13. Nail the Nasties 13

    Is Mallard pledging to take the land out of Schedule 4 that the Government is putting in.

    My understanding is with the changies to Schedule 4 more land goes into Conservation than comes out.

    Seems hypocritical when Labour want to mine conservation land it is okay and when National wants to do it it is not. I am sure both parties are intelligent enough to do it in interest of maintaining New Zealands Natural Beauty.

    • Marty G 13.1

      I haven’t seen Mallard or anyone from Labour talking about removing that land from Schedule 4. In fact, the land (mostly marine reserves, actually) National is adding to s4 was in the process of being added to s4 under Labour anyway.

      So, yeah, your attack on Labour kind of falls apart there.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 13.2

      What ‘conservation land ‘?
      There isnt any such thing. Its Crown land. DoC is merely the agency in charge.

  14. Maynard J 14

    NtN, National adding more land to schedule four means exaxtly S.F.A. since they’ve shown they will just remove the protection when they arbitrariy see fit.

    Please excuse the rest of us for not exactly being thrilled with their offer of “We’re going to destroy the concept of schedule four by making the designaton worthless…but we’ll add more land to schedule four!! Yays”

    Only one party seems to have managed mining on crown land without getting strongly negative international attention, and avoided headlines along the lines of “Open cast coal mining in National Park”. I think National have failed your intelligence test admirably.

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