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Sickening attempts at political-point scoring

Written By: - Date published: 11:15 am, November 29th, 2010 - 64 comments
Categories: Mining, scoundrels - Tags:

It’s dismaying to see a few rightwing commentators using the Pike River disaster to attack restrictions on mining in national parks. The claims are baseless and crassly opportunistic. One expects the like of Matthew Hooton, Whaleoil, and Paul Holmes to try to score political points off tragedy but I thought better of Fran O’Sullivan.

It started with Matthew Hooton claiming that the explosion is all the fault of the restrictions that were placed on the mine. See, the coal is under Paparoa National Park, which is protected by Schedule 4, so Pike River weren’t allowed to dig directly down to it. Instead, they were granted special permission to make some minimal constructions in the Park (one end of the ventilation system, etc) and dig a 2km tunnel underneath it from the edge of the Park to the coal.

Hooton says that they should have been allowed to dig down and, on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, says that had they been allowed to do so there would have been no disaster. ( if you missed this on Radio Live, Hooton will be making exactly the same claims on Nine to Noon this morning and later this week in the NBR – he’s a spin doctor, repeating bullshit ad nauseum is what he does).

Of course, beneficiary bludger and convicted criminal Cameron Slater was only too keen to jump on the bandwagon. Yup, apparently it’s all the fault of the Department of Conservation who followed the law and didn’t let outsiders come and tear up highly valued conservation estate so they could sell coal overseas.

National Party media trainer Paul Holmes, who never has anything intelligent to say, has chipped in by musing that the mine ought to have been open-cast. Let’s see, Holmes is proposing removing 160m thick of rock across an area probably several square kilometres in size to get at a 7m thick seam of coal. Does that sound like a feasible exercise to you? Pike River didn’t want to do that – it’s logistically and economically impossible. You open cast mine deposits on the surface, for deep ones, you dig small holes to the seam, and then dig it up. Holmes is a twit.

Let’s be clear: DoC and the Minister said ‘you can have the coal if you minimise the damage to the environment and here are our restrictions’. It was up to the company to decide whether it could and would mine safely within those limits, and up to the Department of Labour to ensure satefy standards were met. DoC isn’t in the business of deciding what is and isn’t safe mining, it’s in the business of protecting our natural heritage. And, regardless, opencast mining wasn’t an option.

Slightly more concerning than a PR hack whose a laughingstock because he’s always so transparent, Daddy’s boy Slater, and bumbling old Holmes is O’Sullivan. She usually has the inside running on where National/ACT spin is heading. So it worries me when O’Sullivan asks:

“whether “green mining” can be done in an environment underscored by an old faultline.

And whether mine bosses took their eye off the ball as they “cut and tucked” their project to meet demands of the Department of Conservation and local Maori to put environmental preservation centre-stage.”

And then criticises the following sentence from the Pike River annual report:

“So long as mining is done sensitively the country wins both ways. You get the economic value from the mine and you still maintain the conservation values.”

As if economics should always trump to environment.

The clear inference from all this is that some on the Right want to take advantage of the Pike River disaster and the public’s understandable desire for solutions to attack environmental protections around mining, especially in National Parks.

It would be sickening if, having lost the Schedule 4 debate, the Right now tries to use this tragedy as a backdoor into more, unrestricted mining on our conservation estate. But it looks like that’s exactly the game some of them are playing.

64 comments on “Sickening attempts at political-point scoring ”

  1. I suspect that as time goes by it will become more and more apparent that this is the result of poor management and slack industry standards.

    This quote was recently in the Herald:

    International mine rescue experts say they are shocked a mining disaster the magnitude of the Pike River tragedy occurred in a modern mine.

    International Mines Rescue Body secretary Alex Gryska said the world would be watching an investigation into the tragedy, which claimed the lives of 29 men.

    Mr Gryska said he would not expect a disaster of that magnitude in New Zealand.

    “Having incidents like this in developing countries is one thing. Having it happen in western countries is uncommon.”

    The link is at http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10690215

    Surgical mining anyone?

  2. grumpy 2

    Apart from laying into the quoted commentators personally, this post does not address the issues they raise. There is widespread concern that environmental concerns imposed conditions on the mining company that may have lead to more risk being assumed. That is a valid concern and will no doubt be directly confronted by the Commission of Inquiry.

    Some of the horror stories – like the stopping of a second ventliation shaft due to the presence of a nearby blue duck and the uphill shaft requiring more reliance on forced ventilation are concerning.

    Your post looks more like a pre-emptive strike on commentators who are raising valid concerns.

    • Bright Red 2.1

      the post does address the myth about “lthe stopping of a second ventliation shaft due to the presence of a nearby blue duck” and the uphill shaft.

      It quite rightly says that DoC’s business conversation. It is up to the business to mine safely wihin the rules or not mine at all.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        It is up to the business to mine safely wihin the rules or not mine at all.

        And that is what they call a TKO my friend.

      • grumpy 2.1.2

        Bright Red says;

        “the post does address the myth about “lthe stopping of a second ventliation shaft due to the presence of a nearby blue duck” and the uphill shaft.”

        Really? Where? and what is your definition of “addresses”?

        • Bright Red

          The bit that starts “let’s be clear”, genius:

          “Let’s be clear: DoC and the Minister said ‘you can have the coal if you minimise the damage to the environment and here are our restrictions’. It was up to the company to decide whether it could and would mine safely within those limits, and up to the Department of Labour to ensure satefy standards were met. DoC isn’t in the business of deciding what is and isn’t safe mining, it’s in the business of protecting our natural heritage. And, regardless, opencast mining wasn’t an option.”

          • grumpy

            Looks like the “blue duck’ was never there…..

            • Bright Red

              have you got any source to substantiate this ‘single blue duck stopped a ventilation shaft’ story?

              As far as I can tell, the story was made up by Hooton

              • Vicky32

                I must have misheard Nine to Noon – it sounded as if he was attributing the blue duck story to Matt McCarten???? 🙂

                • Marty G

                  nah. Hooton was saying it on Friday. Whatever McCarten said was on Saturday. Oh, I’ve got the transcript…

                  • Marty G

                    here’s what McCarten said on Q+A:

                    “MATT The point you made about going up, common sense would suggest that’s a problem, right? And there was a discussion about they’ve only got one ventilation—There was a discussion about, when they built it, having more than one, and I think you made the point about conservation needs versus safety, and then they found an endangered species of blue duck and decided not to have the extra ventilation. So it just seemed a bit—It’ll come out in the commission, as you say, and we don’t have the serious mining professionals around cos it was going to save money. So out of this inquiry all of the political parties are going to take some heat. It happened under the Shipley Government, that decision; Clarke’s government approved the mine and the way it was set up; and Key’s government is getting the end result of it.”

                    nothing about a single duck.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      like the stopping of a second ventliation shaft due to the presence of a nearby blue duck

      What makes that a horror story?

      and the uphill shaft requiring more reliance on forced ventilation are concerning.

      Forced ventilation would be required no matter which way the shaft went. The only way you could not have it would be open cast and that was/is impractical.

      • grumpy 2.2.1

        And the denial of permission for a second ventilation shaft???

        I agree that open cast is impractical at Pike River but there is widespread anger that the company and it’s workers were forced into having to take more risk in an already risky business in order to provide employment and economic growth in an area already suffering the negative impacts of green politics.

        • Draco T Bastard

          To maintain the environment and the economy economic growth isn’t always possible and the company didn’t have to build the mine if they didn’t like the conditions. They would have designed around them (which means designed around one vent. shaft) and, supposedly, up to safety standards. Having one or two ventilation shafts in that case is irrelevant which makes the argument a distraction and not an argument.

  3. Sanctuary 3

    grumpy – the point is there is no evidence whatsoever for these ignorant outbursts from the likes of Hooten, Holmes and Slater. In fact, the published evidence marks them as simply ignorant at best and at worst, displaying ignorance combined with a miserable, opinionated stupidity. Much as it seems to be a constant source of surprise to them personally, the opinion of a bunch of arrogant white male Tories is not automatically fact, be it a Road of National Significance or a coal mine. That O’Sullivan is repeating it merely makes her look as stupid as the rest of them.

    • grumpy 3.1

      No, the point is that these concerns have been expressed by locals for a long time. They will be directly addressed by the Royal Commission and previous decisions either by the company, DoC or the Government will be ruthlessly exposed. It appears that the Left has a problem with that.

      The “locking up” of the Coast is one of the reasons for Labours electoral defeat and why the EPMU has been very conservative in their comments.

      • Pascal's bookie 3.1.1

        Try and keep up.

        DOC is legally obliged to protect DOC land’s intrinsic value as much as possible. They are not allowed, by law, to take it easy on people who want to do something that would daamge that value. They must be as stringnet as they can, and are under no obligation to say that a m ine can go ahead. The default postion is ‘protection of the land’, not ‘allowing activity’.

        In fact, sctivity can only be allowed where the land is protected.

        On the other hand, mining companies are allowed to not mine if they think the conditions would be too dangerous.

        The decision to go ahead with the mine can only be the company’s. For people to blame DOC, or greenies or whoever else, is to say that the company lacked the option of saying ‘no’.

      • handle 3.1.2

        “The “locking up” of the Coast is one of the reasons for Labours electoral defeat”

        I must have imagined all those people marching and campaigning this year against mining of Conservation land and then this government backing down on it.

    • KJT 3.2

      Hey, less of the prejudice against white males.

  4. Jeremy Harris 4

    I thought the environmental “smoking gun” as it were, was that DOC denied a permit for a second ventilation shaft on conservation grounds..?

    Open cast mining at that depth is the same as digging out a 20 story building – that doesn’t seem to make sense to me…

  5. ianmac 5

    John Keys words were to the effect that the Inquiry would have the “future of coal mining hanging in the balance.” Hope not. Maybe he just means that the Inquiry outcome will be important but……

    • grumpy 5.1

      Looks like the Inquiry may well be the catalyst for an easing of conservation restrictions to allow safer mining practices on DOC land. That result would be welcome on the Coast. Of course, Chris Carter will face some quite interesting grilling over his role.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1

        Looks like the Inquiry may well be the catalyst for an easing of conservation restrictions to allow safer mining practices on DOC land.

        When, of course, there is no need to which just means that the RWNJs have found another excuse to destroy the environment that we depend upon to live for their own personal gain.

        • grumpy

          Given that everything we need to exist is either grown or dug up from the ground and that on the Coast virtually all private land is taken up with high value farming and everything else has been tied up in the DoC estate, – what is left to sustain the people who live there?

          Green restrictions on any activity that would create employment led to the backlash against Labour, for all the cvlaims that the Coast was the cradle of Labour, the local population has been betrayed by a party taken over by city dwelling sophisticates with quaint ideas such as snails, ducks and trees trump humans.

          • handle

            “what is left to sustain the people who live there?”

            Let me see, how about tourism and conservation jobs around the Coast’s native assets? Community and health services. High value arts, online services and other future-oriented work.

            Or they could always move somewhere else like people have done for centuries when economies change and old industries are no longer viable.

            • grumpy

              Easy for latte swilling city dwellers to say, but when the crunch comes, there just ain’t that much of that type of work. Do you want the Coast kept “pristine” for the odd city dweller to drive through once in their life, or the cut price Asian tour on Asian owned busses, staying in Asian owned hotels to sleep through.

              “Or they could always move somewhere else like people have done for centuries when economies change and old industries are no longer viable.”

              Is that the modern equivalent for “let them eat cake”?

              • handle

                It’s the modern equivalent of saying there’s no ‘right’ to mining jobs, mate. And the other type of job doesn’t happen on its own with a do-nothing government. Might want to think about that come election time next year.

              • pollywog

                …how about getting ’em all out building that cycleway through DOC lands and down the coast for starters ?

            • KJT

              Maybe we should pay them to keep the coast pristine. Like the Swiss pay their farmers to keep the countryside looking nice.

              Much as I disagree with the ETS as a money go around, it could help pay for keeping West coast forests.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Given that everything we need to exist is either grown or dug up from the ground…

            Yes, but that doesn’t mean that we should take it all immediately does it? In fact, we should be taking as much as we need and no more and needs to be within the renewable resource base. Anything more is unsustainable.

            BTW, digging up the coal and selling it to China isn’t our best option – keeping it in the ground and using it minimally is.

            what is left to sustain the people who live there?

            And how are they going to be sustained when there’s no environment?

            • grumpy

              You had me with you in your first part but then lost me with ” keeping it in the ground and using it minimally is.”

              Given that the use for this coal is specialised to smelting steel, does this mean you would support more of this type of industry for NZ?

              • Draco T Bastard

                I would support such industry up to the necessary amount to cover our needs. I’ve also said before that we should be exporting completed products and not raw materials and the coke is obviously a raw material.

              • KJT

                Yes. We should be keeping it here for our needs for finished products such as wind generators and electric transport.

    • Puddleglum 5.2

      Ianmac, I think you’ll find his words were “future of underground mining hanging in the balance” – or words to that effect.

      That’s what I heard on Morning Report this morning. Just after that clip from Key, Geoff quizzed Tony Kokshoorn (sp?) and asked him if Key’s comments sent a shiver down his spine. His reply? “No, I know where he’s coming from.”

      I’m sure he does, and he (Key) is not ‘coming from’ wanting to eliminate mining.

      The ducks (and I mean the Right wing commentators, not the blue ducks) are getting into a row on this.

      It’s also worth noting that Jon Gadsby (yes ‘the’ Jon Gadsby) was very quick off the ball with a letter to the editor of The Press (on Friday) blaming the Greens (as above) and claiming that making Pike River an open cast mine would be a good memorial to the miners.

      There were a couple of quick responders agreeing with him in Saturday’s paper and an editorial saying how important it was – for a ‘healthy and growing economy’ – to ‘balance’ the economy and environmental concerns. Sounds so reasonable but I wouldn’t trust the scales. (Sorry can’t find links for the Weekend Press on the internet).

  6. Doug 6

    It looks like Grumpy wants us to get into mountain top removal and turn us into the cesspit that is Western Virginia

    • grumpy 6.1

      “It looks like Grumpy wants us to get into mountain top removal and turn us into the cesspit that is Western Virginia”

      No, see 2.2.1

      What I would like to see is the cause of the accident and all factors leading up to it – including whatever role green politics has played.

      You guys seem to be very upset that DoC and the role of the previous Labour Govt might be scruitinised, why?

      • Bright Red 6.1.1

        I’m upset that you seem determined to exploit deaths for cheap political point-scoring with a view to underming the protection of our natural heritage

        • grumpy

          No, I am commenting on this post by MartyG which seems to be doing all you claim . Much better for it never to have been written and wait for the inquiry.

          • Bright Red

            Marty’s pointing out that others are trying to score points off tragedy. there’s nothing in the post that seeks to lay blame with the Right. It’s a few Right nutbars trying to blame the Left for these deaths.

  7. Jenny 7

    Right wing, pro-business, opportunists like Fran O’Sullivan have no shame, their greed for the big returns from coal mining has blinded them, so much, that they stray, even from the bounds of common decency.

    Last Thursday prior to O’Sullivan’s dispicable exploitation of this tragedy to push her pro-mining political agenda. Other opportunists were already laying the groundwork to exploit these mens deaths to greatly expand coal mining.

    As I said then, “Unfortunately, I think we can expect to see a lot more of this sort of thing in the coming weeks and months.”

    Sadly, I did not have to wait long to be proved right.

  8. I think it’s bizarre and lamely comical how the likes of suits such as Matthew Hooton are suddenly experts on mining and qualified to discuss the merits of techniques…and your relationship to manual labour is…what, exactly?

  9. ghostwhowalksnz 9

    In West Virginia they do blow the tops off mountains so they can ‘open cast’ the coal beneath.

    The valleys around are buried by the overburden. I think the economics of it require the coal seam to be much much thicker than 7m.

    And of course they dont do it in national parks.

  10. Micheal James 10

    Who or what is a MartyG? I can put a face to the names of Matthew Hooton, Whaleoil, Paul Holmes & Fran O’Sullivan, they are prepared to stand by their commentary. What about you MartyG?

    [Marty G is Marty G. Do you need a face in order to engage with the debate? See our about page. — r0b]

    • BLiP 10.1

      Michael, remind me – who wrote today’s New Zealand Fox News Herald editorial?

      • Micheal James 10.1.1

        BLiP, I don’t read the herald so don’t know what your question infers, but have a great day anyway.

        Bright Red, you are right, know one cares who I am, I’m just another pea in a sea of vomit. I can make a pretty poor argument at best of times, but at least I have fun trying.

    • Bright Red 10.2

      who’s Micheal James? Wait, who cares?

      It’s the quality of your ideas that matters, not who you are.

    • Micheal James 10.3

      Hi r0b, Thanks, I read the about page & understand the reasons mentioned there, fair enough. I should bear that in mind when viewing editorial on this site & how much credibility to give the thoughts expressed here.
      To my mind yes, when someone makes public comments criticising other well known public figures for me it does add weight to those comments if the person making them isn’t anonymous. Otherwise the term chickenshit comes to mind.
      All the best, Mike.

      [lprent: You obviously don’t know the limits of the law or the difficulties of pursuing a libel action against anyone when they are expressing an opinion about you.

      For instance I can easily say that I think you’re a total fuckwit (a rather meaningless phrase) without any fear of effective legal retribution (apart from nuisance suits) despite my ‘real’ identity being well known. The reason why is that I am not asserting a fact, I am expressing my opinion. If I’d asserted that it was well known that someone did quite specific acts of bestiality and this was not sustainable, then that would be libel.

      I’ve happily expressed my opinion about many public figures, both political and non-political in the past in language that is meant to be deeply damaging to the recipient because I’m pissed off about something. So have many of the authors and commentators here. But it is always clearly our personal opinions and is usually reasonably well substantiated with fact.

      Occasionally we do get people leaving libel comments. The moderators keep track of anything that is over the edge and it gets purged as fast as we see it and the perpetrator is bounced and banned. On a very few occasions we’ve missed a comment, but we will examine them if people request it, and have killed comments that are over the edge. We do not allow this site to be used for clear libel.

      People if they are really concerned do have the option of trying to bring an action against the trust that runs the site. But if we don’t think that the action is justified we will defend against the action as being a nuisance suit. We’ve made the site reasonably difficult to take down using nuisance actions so they are rather pointless. But the point is that we will defend against actions that we think are stupid and unsustainable in a court. This makes us no different to a newspaper with their anonymous editorials.

      As far as I’m concerned, the main reason that we get wafflers like yourself bleating on about the pseudonymous nature of our writers and commentators is because it makes it easier for bullies to try to silence our voices using means that ignore any legal limits of free speech – see the about. Bearing in mind the numbers of threats that we’ve received over the years this is where you should look for the gutless who are incapable of arguing and prefer to bully extra-legally.

      Are you one of them? ]

      • Armchair Critic 10.3.1

        Otherwise the term chickenshit comes to mind.
        Only valid if you assume that people who comment here under pseudonyms do not make their views known using there real name elsewhere. In my case I make my thoughts known using my real name and identity in other forums, usually much more directly than what I express here. I’m sure others here do the same.

      • r0b 10.3.2

        Hi “Michael”. We’re pseudomymous — pen names — like Mark Twain, C S Forester, George Orwell, Joseph Conrad, and many other writers. Or I guess we could go for anonymous, like editorial writers for major newspapers, the listener, and so on.

        I guess the point is that we’re happy to be chickenshit in good company. Especially if the alternative is desperately pursuing some form of sad micro-celebtrity, as some bloggers do.

        Toodle pip, r0b

      • Pascal's bookie 10.3.3

        To my mind yes, when someone makes public comments criticising other well known public figures for me it does add weight to those comments if the person making them isn’t anonymous. Otherwise the term chickenshit comes to mind

        How does that work exactly? Is there a logic there at all? If there is, it is hiding very well.

        If a person is ‘chickenshit’ but makes a very good argument, would you give it less weight than a transparently bullshit argument that has a name attached?

        If you couldn’t decide on an issue based on the quality of argument, would you really just agree with the argument that happened to have a name attached? Why?

        That seems like a singularly stupid thing to do.

        And anonymous /= pseudonymous.

        Pseudonyms maintain an identity. Anonymity strips all identity away. A small point, but an important one.

        All the best with trying to engage, though you might find you will need to do more than just post under a realistic sounding handle in order to get respect.

    • Marty G 10.4

      As Irish would say, I’m Marty, who are you?

  11. Micheal James 11

    AC that’s a very good point. I hadn’t considered it. If MARTY G ‘s identity is commonly known by his/hers peers & by the people criticised then that’s a different story.

  12. vto 12

    The answer to this bullshit issue is really rather quite simple if a few fools think DOC is responsible for the Pike River tragedy to any extent… No more mining whatsoever on DOC land.


    Done and dusted.

  13. millsy 13

    The price of everything and the value of nothing.

    I bet Hooten, O’Sullivan and blubberboy used to enjoy our pristine national park system amd our clean rivers when they were kids – now they want to deprive their kids of them, for the sake of a few bucks.

    I am not anti-mining, not by a long shot, but with advances and technology we can do it without turning the pristine beauty of our National park system in to a steaming pile of toxic sludge, just to make money.

    I would love the likes of grumpy to travel out the back of Te Aroha to that old mine site, which is one of the most toxic places in the country – with a tailings dam, full of toxic crap that is so toxic, there is a layer of sediment on top.

    Come on rightwingers, are you going to put the Southern Alps through the grinder to look for the coal underneath?

    • grumpy 13.1

      Hi millsy,

      I’ll back my experience in the backblocks of the Coast with anyone’s. You cannot compare underground mining for coal with the crapheap that is Te Aroha. How many of the contributors to this discussion have visited the areas affected – have they been into the Paparoas? Large areas of the Coast are riddled with old mine workings, so much so that some areas are actually hazardous to trampers, hunters etc.
      Past mining is an intrinsic part of the West Coast culture (Shanty Town, Denniston, Brunner etc.) to the extent that DoC is restoring old workings as part of it’s “conservation” effort.
      It’s easy for Auckland and Wellington latte drinkers who like to see pretty pictures on their TV sets think that they can somehow impose their views on the people who have lived there for generations and to whom the “pretty pictures” represent their everyday life and their struggle to make a living for them and their families.
      It’s this urban greenie disconnect with reality that so offends Coasters and now there is a suggestion that those foreign values may have contributed to local fatalities, they will demand proper investigation and accountability if it is shown that urban “greenie” values have cost working Coasters their lives.

      • vto 13.1.1

        grumpy, you have a minor point that latte drinkers in the big smokes do not understand such areas as the Coast. However, similarly, Coast dwellers for example often lack an understanding of wider issues at play.

        Nonetheless, here’s a thing… I pissed off a well known west coast gold and coal miner recently when I was playing the devils advocate about his tailings and runoff and etc. I said that unlike farmers and miners I am not allowed to dump the rubbish from my business in the street, so why should they? These two sectors are very very very slow to realise that. These two sectors are too slow to realise a few other things too – probably comes from being sheltered behind their political power for such a number of decades. That shelter is no longer there – just reality. (little bit off subject)

        • grumpy

          Not too far off the subject vto. I agree that old style gold mining is no longer acceptable. My father was a Dredge Engineer on a gold dredge and my uncle Dredge Manager at Arahura, I think the Kaniere dredge was the last of that type. The Oceania site at Reefton is a huge contrast to that invasive method.
          Likewise, Pike River, Spring Creek and the smaller mines are nothing like the invasive Stockton project.
          You are correct that some “old style” miners have been slow to grasp the “new” reality but the types of obstruction of safety systems at Pike River that are being uncovered go way beyond ensuring minimum environmental impact.

          • Puddleglum

            Hi Grumpy. I appreciate the way you’ve engaged on this topic and you clearly know a lot about the realities of mining culture.

            I’d make one point though. Human beings create ‘cultures’ in just about any circumstances: The scavenging lifestyles on the rubbish dumps of major world cities have their own cultures, communities and norms. And if you think about human history, the range of circumstances in which human culture can emerge and maintain itself is a mixture of amazing and saddening.

            What upsets me, however, is how these various cultures will either be crushed or praised by people I call the ‘elite’ (and their ideological bedfellows who, I admit, I call ‘right wingers’) depending on how it fits with their current interests.

            At the moment, in New Zealand, West Coast mining culture is ‘defended’ by the right ‘against’ the ‘greenies’. Yet, in Britain in the 1980s, the right were not talking about the amazing mining culture and communities and how they had a right to go about their lives unmolested by those from the outside. No, those mining communites were systematically dismantled because, this time, they were in the way of ‘capital’ (for want of a better word). Where were all those right wing ‘friends of mining culture and communities’ then? Answer – putting the boot in to those very same mining communities.

            Here in New Zealand in the 1980s and 1990s there was little concern expressed by the economic and political right for the decimation of ‘cultures’ and communities. Instead, Roger Douglas and co. were telling everyone that they had to ‘adjust’, be ‘flexible’ put up with the ‘short term pain’ for ‘long term gain’. And, let’s be honest, if next year demand for coal plummeted and all the coal mines were shut down what would right wingers tell those ‘brave Coasters’ then? Would they ask that coal mining be heavily subsidised to keep Coasters doing the mining culture thing? Or tell them that they need to be ‘flexible’, to ‘diversify’, to ‘adjust’?

            History is full of examples where, when convenient, the elite will praise a culture; when inconvenient, they will crush, even eliminate it. (And I haven’t even mentioned the specifics of colonial expansion and how various cultures were ‘played’ then…)

            It stinks of hypocrisy, because that’s what it is. And that’s what gets me about this argument that right wingers are defending Coast mining culture and communities ‘against’ the greenies.

            • grumpy

              Ever get the feeling that “left” and “right”and “green” etc. are poor labels in defining a political position?

              There are many issues that transcend such easy labels.

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