I’m no fan of coal mining, obviously. We need to reduce the amount of carbon we put in the atmosphere dramatically and stopping digging it up would be a good start. But the Nats have no such concerns. They want more jobs in hydrocarbon extraction. So, why the lack of any kind of response from National to stop job losses at Spring Creek?
Nearly 400 jobs at a state-owned mine are on the line just due to a cyclical downturn in the price of coal, yet National does nothing.
Lets look at National’s 3 big economic policies:
Asset sales creates no new jobs (unless you count all the contractors Treasury is hiring). There is no permanent employment boost as a result of that policy.
The dirty pokies deal is meant to create 200 jobs in return for creating hundreds of new problem gamblers, with all the attendant social and economic costs of that.
National has added just 600 mining jobs in the past four years. And that gain will all be lost after Spring Creek closes on top of the job losses elsewhere in Solid Energy’s operations.
So, you’ve got a policy that creates no jobs, a policy that might create a few hundred jobs, and a policy that will have created no net jobs in four years if National lets Spring Creek close.
You would think, given National’s insistence that mining is the salvation of the economy and the great creator of jobs (despite the facts), that they would jump to save the jobs at Spring Creek. After all, they’re spending tens of millions on giving away seismic data to oil companies. How much can it take to keep the jobs as Spring Creek going? A few million for a couple of years until the coal price rebounds?
It’s just astounding that National will spend piles of money and political capital on policies that it claims will create jobs but it won’t do anything to save jobs that already exist at a state-owned company.
What is wrong with these people’s priorities? Where is Steven Joyce – who is always talking about wanting more mining jobs – when the chance is there to save some? Where is John Key – who said he would have a relentless focus on jobs? Where is Paula Bennett – who says she will always back Kiwis into work? Where is Bill English, who promised 170,000 more jobs?
David Shearer is right – this is a Nowhere National government.