- Date published:
12:25 pm, June 30th, 2011 - 81 comments
Categories: Conservation, jobs, Mining, public services - Tags: department of conservation, ministry of economic development
The Department of Conservation does a wonderful job maintaining our country’s parks and walkways for all of us, and our tourists. Its workers are low-paid, passionate people who really care about our environment. They’re the caretakers of our wild places – places that people from all over the world admire us for protecting.
When these places were threatened with mining, we protested and stood up for the environment. Now this government responds by cutting 100 DOC jobs.
Then, just to rub some salt into the wound, they announce they are nearly doubling the number of jobs at the “Ministry of Economic Development”; namely the unit aimed at expanding the oil and minerals industries.
This really pisses me off. When we spoke up against mining on conservation land, they pretended to drop the policy but actually it’s continuing in the shadows. They are gutting the department tasked with protecting our natural heritage and employing more people to issue permits to dig it up. This is not what New Zealand wants. We are about protecting our environment and thinking about the future.
Eddie: watch how this fits in with Solid Energy’s plans to dig up dirty coal under conservation land and turn it into diesel, briquettes, and fertiliser, and burn it underground to make syngas.
It is definitely continuing in the shadows. Recently on this subject I mentioned that talks have continued / re-started on the Haast-Hollyford DisasterDream Road. Which is almost certainly a cover for accessing the vast mineral wealth in that area.
In a similar vein, when down those deep southwest parts recently I witnessed an aerial magnetic survey being conducted (I have worked in these in the past so know them intimately (in the past)). These surveys show up various anomolies in the ground below, which can help identify mineral characterics. Such surveys are one of the first things done when exploring for minerals.
There was nobody for bloody miles and miles. Just us. We saw it. Contact details were made publicly available down those parts (Thomson Aviation Geophysical Surveys 0278-697-143) so feel free to contact.
Exploration has started in schedule 4 land which was the subject of these protests.
These are facts.
I for one welcome the economic development. It’s hypocritical to harp on unemployment and low wages on one hand, then to harp on people “digging up” the countryside on the other hand.
Hardly worth a reply to entries from Rusty Shackleford, he is obviously a little dim. This government should be called something unmentionable, let’s settle for just “rotten through and through”.
No, actually, it’s not. Mining doesn’t produce high employment or wages and all the benefit will go to the overseas corporations that “own” the licence.
I am comfortable with some mining, or no mining on conservation land (except to the limited extent that the previous and current Govts have allowed it). But, as you point out, we cannot have our cake and eat it too.
Many of the same people who point to Australia and say why can’t NZ emulate their economy, are same first people to oppose any suggestion at emulating their key industry. We choose not to emulate their industry, we choose not to be as wealthy.
Personally I choose no mining because I am wealthy enough to have some lovely property right next to DoC land (doing my bit planting natives and cleaning streams) and regularly hike, etc in our national parks. So personally the last thing I want is a mine being set up there.
But unfortunately, as usual it is the less well-off who get hurt by Green policies.
As I have asked before, and as yet no right sided commentators have ever attempted to answer, what the hell do you do when the minerals are gone; all you have is a hole in the ground and no income stream. Research and development in high tech industries would be a start, closely followed by adding value to what we produce, e.g. using the logs rather than gifting them to the Chinese so they can sell them back to us as flat pack furniture!
Thames in the Coromandel. The day after the mining stopped the town was bankrupt. All the wealth went elsewhere.
How much local wealth came from the Tui mine we are all having to pay to clean up.
They cream off the wealth
and dump the shit on you
Same story in many other cases, eg dairying
RWNJ A: who cares, its someone else’s grandkids problem.
The silence from them is deafening
Well it’s pretty obvious, you find something else to do. Until then there may be many thousands or more people happy to have jobs for a decade or two.
Absolutely. Now say who’s going to fund that, and what NZ’s going to do to attract and retain the leading scientists, entrepreneurs, and investors who can make it possible? An easy option would be to use the funds from say limited mining licenses, but that is off the table.
Absolutely (though I haven’t noticed any gifting, the sector brings in rather a lot of GDP). Just a question of who will do this, and who’s going to pay for it – which it always comes back to.
Maybe gifting wasn’t the best term, but the country needs to add value to its exports. Clark before the last election wanted to increase investment on R & D, notably in areas of strength like software, biotech and agriculture; the Nats ran on tax cuts and little else.
Now nearly 3 years later we are forced to potentially wreck areas of the country, when instead we could have been prudent and invested in our future, rather than buggering it up for future generations
As some wise person once said…
Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money.
It’s a Cree Indian prophecy – this poster has hung in my hallway for over 20 years:
Hah, knew I had this one lying around somewhere:
Native American prophecy
Actually, the economic development stuff doesn’t stack up. It’s uneconomic to mine the conservation estate – there was some good stuff on that last year, by Geoff Bertram. http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/what-we-do/publications/media-releases/economic-case-mining-does-not-stack
and yeah it does make my blood boil when i see that 250ha of public (that’s land belonging to you and I) conservation land is under the spotlight for mining on the Denniston Plateau, and not only does DOC put in a neutral submission, they don’t even front at the hearing. Incidentally, it’s cheaper for mining companies to dig on public land… they don’t have to buy it.
As for DOC job cuts – here’s my take on it (in the Dom Post http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/5194393/Cuts-to-DOC-will-be-costly . have a read, it’s a continual weakening of the people we charge with looking after our best national asset… there will be a tipping point. you can’t expect a govt department to protect a third of the country, the backbone of our largest export earner (tourism), the protector (through catchments and forests in our national parks and conservation land) of our clean water (which every industry, particularly agriculture) relies upon, the myriad (2000 identified, possibly 4000 more which are ‘data deficient’) of threatened native species (which is why we’re a UN classified ‘biodiversity hot spot’), AND all the huts, tracks, bridges, culverts, parks, scenic reserves, islands, marine reserves, marine mammals etc etc etc – on about the same budget as a city council. It’s preposterous. And we should be angry about this.
Despite huge efforts we have lost 16 000 kiwi in the last 11 years. 95% of kiwi chicks don’t survive in areas with no pest control. We can only afford to do pest control on one eighth of conservation land… we will lose the things we hold dear.
It’s crazy, because the rest of the world look to NZ for leadership on conservation – the mask is slipping.
Got any facts to back up the link between opening up conservation land to mining and lifting living standards ?
Well….there is a general link between actually producing stuff and living standards. You can’t have prosperity by taxing people then giving the cash to other people. You actually need to produce something first.
Mines don’t produce anything which wasnt already there in the first place.
I mean, if we want to produce things lets get serious about it and move away from environmentally extractive practices into proper manufacturing, design and technology development.
So you want to produce products without any raw materials? interesting!
The tax we advocate comes from people who simply consume things, such as bankers and the filthy rich, to pay people who actually produce things or help those who do.
Like road and rail builders, Teachers, research scientists, doctors etc.
What about capitalizing on the 100% pure tourism brand we have developed, and our reputation as godzone, show casing our amazing wilderness without destroying it for a one-off few dollars?
Tourism which can and already does contribute massively to many areas of the economy, from accommodation to tour guides, from GST from the money tourists spend whilst here on food, drink, travel etc. Even right through to the website developers and other support industries for all of the above, helping to foster more work for the tech/other secondary parts of the economy.
Or we could temporarily employ a handful of miners, who are probably already specialists at what they do, who will probably just bugger off to Aussie or wherever else once the hole in the ground has finished producing. Sure there might be a SLIGHT increase in business while they are in town, but nothing comparable to what tourism could produce.
Even if the damage was out of sight and almost nothing, ruining the 100% pure brand in the eyes of the world would far exceed any economic benefits we could ever dream of obtaining through mining.
I’m not against mining, I realize the materials we take for granted have to come from somewhere, but we can be sensible about it and not compromise our environment (and tourism economy) in the process. Schedule 4 conservation land was put into that schedule for a reason, and once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. Tailing lakes full of toxic materials are not that big of a tourism draw-card as some would argue.
Gee I hope our minister of tourism is going to fight tooth and nail against the mining lobbyists to protect his nationally vital portfolio.
Rusty, I think you’re being somewhat optimistic about New Zealand reaping incredible rewards from mining.
For one thing, minerals are mostly exported. As you know, exported goods are zero-rated for gst purposes. Hence no tax in that area.
Next, government receives only 1% to 2% in royalties from mining. Not very much and if we tried increasing it, like our Aussie cuzzies did, a couple of years ago – mining companies would come down on us like a tonne of… [insert mineral here].
On top of that, the mining industry employs only a fraction of the people that tourism does. Even if we doubled mining in this country, we wouldn’t have the skilled workforce to operate any expansion. We’d have to bring workers in from offshore. It’s not hard to understand why – mining is a highly specialised profession and you can’t just dump a few thousand unemployed ex-NiWA staff or railway workers from Dunedin down a mineshaft.
Our top industries – tourism and food production – have far more potential and are re-newable/sustainable. Especially as the world’s population soars from the current 7 billion to 9 billion in 2050. That is when we will earn incredible wealth by selling food to the planet’s population.
(If we haven’t been stupid in the meantime and sold our farms to China, the Americans, or Nestle in the meantime… )
“This really pisses me off. When we spoke up against mining on conservation land, they pretended to drop the policy but actually it’s continuing in the shadows.”
Nonsense, the protests were never about mining on conservation land. As was pointed out Labour approved 218 mines on conservation land between 1999 and 2008. They never backed away from that, they merely argued that S4 land was special and shouldn’t be mined. National eventually backed down and agreed to add even more land to S4.
You’re trying to project a position on New Zealanders which has only ever been held by a handful of extremists like Cathrine Delahunty.
The child’s reply “but they did it to” NickC, your grandchildren, will no doubt be going through famous quotes in the future, and saying here’s the one from granddad ‘But they did it too” the sooner you wake up to the fact that you are part of the environment and your life depends on that very environment, then maybe you will put away you fly spray and step out side seeing the world for what it is!
No one is arguing for no mining on conservation land because its a completely rediculous position. I can’t remember the exact figure, but I think somewhere between a 1/3 and 1/2 of New Zealand is part of the conservation estate. The parts of the estate which we think are too valuable to mine and we want greater restrictions on are put in S4, thats why it exists.
As for your ‘what will your grandchildren think’ crap, it’s all about balance. I think my grandchildren will be glad to benefit from a large amount of technology which is only possible due to the products of mining, including the computer you are reading this comment on right now. We don’t need to shut down every mine to enjoy a nice environment.
Kindly answer the question I asked above oh wise one!
How do you fund things once you have dug out everything that is of value?
Clearly you can’t, which is a reason that there is a need to move to recycling of existing finite materials and developing new materials at some point in the very long run. That of course is not a case for stopping mining in the present, just for exploring alternatives whilst we continue to mine.
I’d note however that surprisingly few finite minerals are in short supply. Oil is one which many are projecting we will run out of in the not too distant future (although such projections have been wrong in the past http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predicting_the_timing_of_peak_oil), but we are fine with most of the other important ones.
Agree about recycling. I don’t believe we will run out of oil either, as it will just have to left in the ground, along with the coal&lignite, The very stuff this government seems intent on digging up. Instead of trying to be just like Australia and taking the small minded lets just keep digging approach, we should be looking at what the future holds, that would involve planing, thinking and leadership.
NickC you said “I think my grandchildren will be glad to benefit from a large amount of technology which is only possible due to the products of mining” I’m speechless.
Why do you think computer parts are made out of Mr Smith? Hint: It’s not wood and potatoes.
Technology has never come from digging up Coal, Gold, etc, technology has come form science mostly, or extreme need, this science is telling us that continuing on our present path, will destroy us by the way.
“The computer” The key board and screen have hardly changed in my life time, so I would suggest it would be easy to build a machine that could be easily recycled or updated, making this a standard of-course would take leadership and market signals from the government.
So your grandchildren could be surfing on the shell of your Computer or the recycled pieces, wouldn’t that be cool. You wouldn’t have to work as much to afford the latest model and so would have more time to spend with your grandchildren. But that would mean the end of the consumption/growth driven world we live in, which I believe is failing us miserably anyway.
That’s why it’s important to give your party vote to the Greens and not National or Labour.
Anyway, the National Party are AGAINST DoC job cuts, I read it here http://www.national.org.nz/Article.aspx?articleId=3625
that was 2005. it was disgraceful then, but not now, apparently.
DOC is a waste of space.
There are some good field staff who do a bloody good job but too often DOC staff are just a bunch of agrophobic PC namby pambys, wearing the latest “outdoor chic” styles, while driving around in the latest 4WD (only one person to a car), with the AirCon turned on high.
DOC needs to get back to the days when they actually did something (like when they were the Wildlife Service or the Forest Service). I think the whole bloody lot should go, put experienced field officers in charge and let them restock the staff.
I know a large number of DoC staff. Not one fits into your stereotype. They’re all in it for the love of nature and the outdoors.
I too know a lot of DOC staff – all of who are front line field staff and excellent at their job.. I also hear their frustrations in dealing with the bureaucrats they finish up reporting to and the wasteful crap they have to perform.
A whole raft of “management” could go and DOC finish up better off with more motivated staff.
Trouble is they will dump the Motivated staff, and keep the bloody useless middle management.
You can’t do ‘Ranger Graham’ stuff without boffins in the background doing the boring paperwork, managing pest control, doing RMA consultation and Iwi liaison required by law, handling species preservation projects, doing bungy jump permits, mapping…the list goes on. So on behalf of all my low paid ex-colleagues who are about to lose their jobs due to short sighted retards like you and your mates in government, go to hell.
You have just made my point.
Hardly any of the tasks you list as really necessary, most are just paper shuffling to keep the “system” fed.
……… and Sookie……if the job cuts are to front line staff actively engaged in species protection, noxious weed control, track/hut maintenence etc., I too will be pissed off.
If it’s middle management paper shufflers, spin doctors and policy analysts, me and my mates will be over the moon.
yeah grumpy clearly has no idea about conservation.
Bullshit, I am probably more involved in outdoor and high country pursuits than most on these pages. I have worked both for the Wildlife Service and before the the old Forest Service at FRES (forest and Range Experimental Station) at Rangiora.
As such I have maintained an extensive network of friends and contact who still work for DOC.
More wealth, more jobs…I support greater mining in NZ
And the only reason the protests got as many people as it did was because of some b-grade actors hanging about
The actors had absolutely no effect whatsoever on my choice to protest, and neither any of the other people I spoke with. My motivation is I want my grandkids to enjoy the beautiful New Zealand outdoors and wilderness that I have enjoyed.
I agree the economy and jobs are important, so why destroy or harm a large part of it, that which we are already very successful at (tourism) for a few one off mining jobs and a paltry amount of tax revenue.
Cost Benefit Analysis, do one.
chris73 has no imagination, digging the dirt up 19th century style is his answer for NZ.
As opposed to the rampant imagination of raving lefties who think money grows on trees
Or the corporate dairy farmers who keep acting like money grows on grass.
BTW you can just print money, the US does it to the tune of hundreds of billion a year. There’s no mystery behind printing money.
yeah im sure, you probably wet yourself at the thought of getting close to a former shortland streeter
Projection, pure and simple.
Especially the simple.
Nope. I was never a fan of shortland street and I don’t give a shit whatsoever about pop-culture celebrities.
I do however love the outdoors, I love to hunt deer, I love to go scuba diving, I love fishing, I love tramping, I love nature, I am proud of the fact that as kiwis we tend to look after the great outdoors and wilderness better than most nations. I love this country. I am concerned about where things are heading. That’s my rationale.
I DO NOT EVEN OWN A TV AND I DO NOT CARE FOR IT OR POP CULTURE IN THE SLIGHTEST, I do not give the SLIGHTEST shit whatsoever about celebrities or celebrity culture.
But yeah go right ahead and project your bs assumptions and opinions about the motivations of somebody who you don’t even know or have met. Yeah sure that’s a convincing reason to stereotype that 50000+ peoples motivations were merely being starstruck </sarc.
Great logic. (Yeah Right)
Chris, what do you do when the minerals are gone?
Its roughly estimated theres about 5000 years worth of coal in the ground around NZ
Ask me that question again in say….4000 years (to be on the conservative side)
You do realise we can’t live in an open cast coal mine, don’t you genius?
How about you show your work for that figure so we can see how you arrived at it.
chris73 appears to have no idea that a large majority of the coal in NZ is of shitty low grades, barely useful for making a bbq with.
And that the 5000 years of coal figure he uses relies on is made up.
You’re wrong about the low grade of the coal
Then I get the information the same place the Labour party does
Oh that’s good, that way we can produce even more CO2 and kill us and every other living thing more quickly!
How many people will die during the extraction phase?
The workers who will die aren’t likely to be related to the major shareholders of the mine so it’s not a problem.
A mate who works for DoC provided a good example of National’s preference for childish adherence to slogans and aversion to reality the other day.
He’s one of the people currently employed to go out into the bush on foot and monitor the levels of birdlife and evaluate pest control programs. He’s now considered “back-office” staff as opposed to “frontline”.
Think about that next time your hear this bullshit distinction from some pressed-shirt, double-breasted, coiffured, perfumed Minister.
Tramping through heavy bush in the backblocks, in all conditions, to make sure that we’re not killing the wrong animals, is the work of “back-office” staff.
(And yeah, his job is for the chop)
The National Government is telling New Zealanders that they and their skills are no longer wanted in this land.
Please go away.
(PS the same thing has happened in primary education where specialist counsellors working daily with troubled children have been told they are not front line staff, they are back office staff ripe for the knifing)
Whereas the ‘add-no-value-look-after-their-own’ useless management bureaucrats are the essential front line staff.
As an ex “faeceologist” and a past expert on the dreaded “running lines”(ask your mate), I would be pissed off if this type of job was chopped. I spent a lot of my youth doing this physically almost impossible job and my mates and I probably provided much of the historic information on which your mates work adds to.
If true, an absolute disaster.
Too all supporters of mining in our national parks:
Do you think that the National Parks should be completely opened up to mining.
Do you want to see Mt Cook and the southern alps destroyed to make room for a mine
Do you actually support the concept of national parks?
1. Completely? No but partially yes
2. Not sure about safely mining in the southern alps but Mt Cook No
3. Yes but theres no reason boundaries can’t be redrawn (as has happened in the past)
How about we let the mining companies have their pick, and whatever land they want we just replace with some other bit of land of the same size.
It’s just a bit of land after all.
We could call them “Multinational Parks”.
I knew something had to be up at DOC when I heard them hyping up 1080 as a “success story”
Rather like the surprise announcement that recorded crime statistics had fallen by 6.7%, just before cut-backs to the police funding were announced
Don’t you just love good news stories?!
1080 is a controversial but cost effective means of pest control – no pest control (a likely alternative to 1080 in more than a few scenarios) will almost certainly result in further loss of NZ’s endangered indigenous fauna. The 1080 debate is by no means a reflection on the performance of the DOC (who some people seem to be doing their damnedest to discredit at the moment – most probably because they stand in the way of the ‘development’ (actually ‘destruction’) that the NACT’ s favor)
The crime stats were quite obviously manipulated – you say it’s because police funding is being cut, I say it was done so obviously that it’s just a ploy to get people talking about crime when they should be talking about the shambles our economy is in after a term of a NACT govt.
I’m not posting to start an argument and won’t be drawn into one – I’m just stating my take on your comment.
Don’t you just love how blatant the attempts by NACT are to manipulate opinion and channel debate?
DiNKy, 1080 is the most effective solution; their is strong evidence that without it many species would now be extinct.
The hunters don’t like it because it kills their prey!
Most of the hunters hate it Ian, only because they are misinformed by hysterical outfits like the Kiwi party,The Graf Boys, etc, But the pot growers love it. I have seen the results out my back door (no not of the pot) and I spend a lot of time in the bush, I resonantly did a survey to accepted standard after they laid 1080 here, we went from 40% before they laid to 5% after the 1080 was laid, so we were catching 40 per 100 traps before and now 5 per 100 traps per night after. I think a lot of hysteria was wiped up by the movie Poisoning paradise by The Graf Boys, which by the way won the bend spoon award in 2009 http://www.skeptics.org.nz/SK:P1080
What is wrong with mining. Or putting it on the table for consideration?
The Australians are doing pretty well out of it. They dig up the ground and sell to China, and that keeps the Australian economy buoyant and that is why so many kiwis cross the ditch. Australia of course is also New Zealand’s largest trading partner. If they stopped mining and their economy plummetted imagine the effect on NZ.
New Zealanders are just getting too fucking precious. They want their cake and eat it too. They want first world living standards without having to do anything for it, or sacrifice anything for it.
The problem is the rest of the world, both Western and non-Western are prepared to. So wake the fuck up. Dig up that ground, sell it and make some bucks.
Wayne : The Australian’s are starting to wake up to the fact that all the coal they are exporting is changing the climate and costing them a fortune.
“A joint assessment by the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO, which found that what are now considered to be one in 25 year climate events could become as frequent as once every one to two years. In particular, the study found exceptionally high temperatures would occur almost yearly, while low rainfall would almost double in frequency from current figures”. Here
Not to mention the resent floods, described as the “Costliest Australian Disaster in History”. Cost approx. 6 billion. Here
“Do you want to see Mt Cook and the southern alps destroyed to make room for a mine?”
This is the sort of ill-informed hysteria which characterises the eco-lunatics of the Green party.
“Do you actually support the concept of national parks?”
Nothing wrong with digging up a certain small percentage of them if it could be shown that there were resources there that could maintain a first world standard of living for NZ over the next half century.
Everything has a benefit to cost ratio.
All these super duper cancer drugs New Zealanders feel they have a right to, costing 10000 dollars a month, are not made in NZ. They come from overseas. We have to pay cold hard cash for them. Where do you think we are going to get this cold hard cash from?
You don’t get something for nothing in this world.
In the old days, NZ did fine by having British imperialism subsidise our agriculture. Those days are over now. Now we have to foot it with the rest of the world on an equal basis.
And whatever we do, let’s not try to get into this super duper incredibly profitable pharmaceutical industry, nor any of the other hi-tech/knowledge industries… Instead it’s absolutely vital that all we focus on are efforts to mine a bit of one-off coal. The tech/knowledge/sustainable/tourism industries aren’t cool because they can be labeled as Greeny-hippy-eco-lunacy!
Our absolute and utter top priority is to parrot whatever our Nact overlords tell us to parrot – ABOVE ALL ELSE!!! Because, of course sloganism, shallow stereotyping and blind sheepism is by far the most important thing for our nations future! And of course whatever the Nacts tell us to think and promote is by the most important thing, and should never ever be questioned, or you are a eco-lunatic greeny. And we all know that shallow name calling is more important than our future. Of course.
Wayne, you do make one good point – expensive drugs. Peoples expectations of what a health service can deliver are too high; more to the point we are held to ransom by pharmaceutical companies and their shareholders, more so if we enter an FTA with the USA and Pharmac disappears.
This ‘Rusty’. It’s obviously an astroturfer, probably on a payroll, or maybe a rightist troll in a granny flat, what would elsewhere be mom’s basement . . . anyway, ignore completely, no feeding, or just a lifetime ban on hygienic grounds? I for one have read enough claptrap from this id. Get out of it!
In other news the Nats are scum who worship only the almighty dollar, particularly dosh from foreigners. Blue is not green, and never the twain shall meet.
1080 is poison, and is not the solution. Grim reality is there probably is no solution and most indigenous wildlife is doomed to extinction, especially once human intervention ceases after societal collapse attendant on the failure of the current financial system and the onset of the energy crisis, ie the end of dirt cheap energy based on petroleum.
The assemblage of party hacks currently trading as ‘Labour’ haven’t got a clue about any green issues, and if any hints of reality crept in behind the blackout curtains they would have to be ignored because of the addiction to the ‘growth’ syndrome.
Any other questions?
PS Oh and by the way mining is not the answer either, although it might result in the temporary enrichment of a narrow sector. As usual the consequent costs of environmental damage will no doubt be socialised after the profits have been privatised. Te Aroha tailings dam anyone?
Just one: are you always this inspiring when you comment?
Your vision of the future really makes me want to engage with the political system and strive for change. In particular your sense of hope and belief in a future worth having makes me glad that I got up this morning and I am now sure that I can make a difference in the struggle to save our environment and free the world from tyranny.
P.S. I do actually agree with you, and am not taking the piss. I am concerned however that doom speak, while having its place in discourse actually ends up disempowering (or turning off) the very people we are trying to reach.