Straw clutching on mining

Written By: - Date published: 3:27 pm, May 4th, 2010 - 28 comments
Categories: Conservation, labour, Mining, national - Tags: ,

In 2000, Labour gave permission for two companies to carry out traditional gold-panning for tourism purposes on Schedule 4 land. This isn’t mining and is specifically allowed for under the legislation that created Schedule 4. Section 61(1A) of the Crown Minerals Act allows mining permits to be granted in Schedule 4 land for limited purposes, including

(d) Gold fossicking carried out in an area designated as a gold fossicking area under section 98 of the Crown Minerals Act 1991
(e) Any activity carried out in accordance with a special purpose mining permit for demonstrating historic mining methods as provided for in the relevant minerals programme required under section 13 of the Crown Minerals Act 1991. [hat-tip: No Right Turn]

National seems to think this is a great scandal that undermines (sorry) the Left’s argument against allowing industrial mining on Schedule 4. As if zero-impact gold-panning in rivers is comparable to gold cast mines and massive tailings lakes.

The Nats are so excited, in fact, that National gave the written answer that contains the information on these permits to their pollster, David Farrar, before the information was publicly available to spin in conjunction with their strategy in the House today.

They’re really getting desperate, aren’t they?

28 comments on “Straw clutching on mining”

  1. HitchensFan 1

    My God. Farrar’s post is the most DESPERATE piece of a*rselicking spin I have EVER read on his sad blog

  2. bobo 2

    Panning for gold, sheesh.. is almost like saying keeping some backyard chooks is comparable to high intensity farming..

  3. ianmac 3

    Crikey! I must confess. Forgive me. I tried panning for gold for fun once without realising that I was really a Mining Company. The three tiny flakes that I scored would probably have saved the NZ economy. Sorry

  4. Bright Red 4

    wow and one of the permits allows “public recreational gold mining (using hand held non motorised equipment)”

    Do you people realise what this means? You can go along to an out timey historic tourism attraction at a former gold mine, get given a spade, and have a little dig! Clearly we must all now support the extraction of millions of tonnes of ore, the processing of it with cynaide and and leaving it in great big toxic ponds.

  5. coolas 5

    If David Farrar is National’s chosen blog spin doctor the Left can celebrate.

    The man’s a baffoon who takes Kiwibloggers on his holidays with him pics and all. His self importance is staggering, and the fact Nact listen to him bodes well for the future.

    I say, keep it up DPF, you’re fabulous, so smart, so wise, so in touch, just like big Gerry himself.

  6. Anyone who wants to believe Farrar will. I’m pretty sure Farrar knows he’s grasping for straws. When you’ve collected a following like he has, you usually can’t skip topics of the day.

  7. Brett 7

    Labour will lose on the mining issue.
    Most people want to see what the benefits are before they make their mind up about supporting it or not.
    Having Labour and the Greens hysterically shrieking in the background before the details have come out is just f*cking people off.

    • lprent 7.1

      Two points.

      1. The real question is why the details haven’t come out yet ? It is an important decision that requires a lot of input from the community.

      2. This government pushes legislation through undemocratically with parliamentary urgency, extremely short select committee hearings, extremely selective numbers (ie lying with numbers) and deliberately stacked ‘consultation’ periods. So everyone now knows that rather than waiting for this government to provide backing information to carefully consider, you have to make presumptions about intent to start the debate early.

      Basically what you’re seeing is a response to a government that prefers to avoid input from the people that they are affecting.

      Quite a change from the previous far more democratically inclined government.

    • Tigger 7.2

      Actually the only hysteria is from the right. Chicken Little’s behaviour was more composed than DPF’s reaction here.

    • Marty G 7.3

      50,000 people marched against mining. How many marched for it? I think we know where public opinion lies.

      • Brett 7.3.1

        If they go ahead with Mining and the majority people are totally against it then it’s likely National will be voted out.
        At the moment most people see Labour and Greens as trying to throw a spanner in works to purely make life hard for National and not so much as been anti-mining.
        Personally I would love to see a rational debate on the pro’s and con’s AFTER all the information has been gathered.

        • Lew

          Yes, Brett, they likely will — but (some of) the damage will already have been done. If it’s not going to get dug up, it’s best for everyone (both parties, the mining company, the local economy and the environment) that it doesn’t get started just so it has to be stopped. The only reason to start something like this with Labour’s warning on the table is to test their resolve — and given that they’ve nailed their colours to the mast in opposition, if they get elected to government they’ll easily be able to claim a mandate to do just what they say they will.


        • Marty G

          what do you base your “most people” opinion on? the largest protest since the 1930s or the polls that show strong majorities against mining on schedule 4?

          • Brett

            People I talk to (non-political types) message boards I read (non-political types).
            The people who are dead set against mining are mainly your dyed in the wool socialists and greenies.

            • Lew

              Ok, so, in other words “people who like sport and country music”. THat sure gives us a solid picture of the electorate.

              And as for your “dyed in the wool socialists and greenies” — there are 50,000 of those in Auckland with nothing better to do on a Saturday? Jeeze, the revolution should be a piece of cake, then.


        • Marty G

          we’re having a rational debate. National’s claims have been thoroughly discredited. The economic case doesn’t add up, let alone the environmental cost.

          • Neil

            the Nats claims haven’t been discredited – yet. we need more info.

        • Neil

          which is why I think there’s good reason to go ahead with the govt’s plan to do geological surveys – most of which look like they’ll be non-intrusive geophysical techniques.

          Then we’ll know what’s there, how much it’s worth and can then decide if mining in some areas is worth it or not.

          If it all comes to nothing then the Nats will look silly. But maybe there could be some gain.

          • Pascal's bookie

            Let’s not get ahead of ourselves Neil.

            When any mine is proposed then some sort of cost benefit analysis and consultation is called for, not least through the RMA. So it seems nat, and yourself, are saying that we should go about this in basically the same way we go about any other mining proposal.

            This just raises the question of what s4 is for. If it isn’t for anything, we should just get rid of it. But they aren’t proposing that out front.

            Let’s start at the beginning.

            Should there be some lands that are simply off limits?

            This question has been answered, with the creation of s4. That is what s4 is for, to put the lands protected by it off limits.

            Before we start doing the surveys and consultations that we would do for any other proposal, you, or the Nats, should explain why we should have no land that is protected.

            Because clearly, if this goes ahead, then the protection that being in s4 offers, doesn’t mean anything.

        • Puddleglum

          Brett, in the interests of beginning the ‘rational debate’ about this topic here’s a few starters.
          First, if you’re going to do some utilitarian ‘pros and cons’, ‘costs and benefits’ calculation, the first decision is at what point in time it is determined that it is now “AFTER all the information has been gathered”. You see, when you draw the line affects the calculation – it’s a well known weakness in utilitarian approaches. (e.g., that’s one reason why the Chairperson in a meeting can potentially have a lot of power over the outcome of a discussion).

          Second, a decision needs to be made about what ‘counts’ as relevant information. ‘Relevant’ is a bit like ‘appropriate’ – it sounds so reasonable but leaves all the hard questions till later.

          Third, there’s the question of who gets to make the decisions about the first and second points (There’s no particular reason why it should be you, Brett).

          Sorry Brett, but you can’t finesse what is primarily a political decision into some technical ‘rational’ decision. For some obscure reason those on the right so often claim or imply that there’s a pure rationality sitting above and beyond all questions of value and anyone who doesn’t follow THEIR particular story – dressed up as impartial rationality – is ‘hysterical’ (I hear Business Round Table types like Roger Kerr say silly things like this all the time – until, of course, the ‘science’ or evidence works against them as it sometimes does over water allocation decisions in Canterbury, for example).

          There isn’t such a rational Eden Brett. Calling people hysterical for thinking just as rationally as you (if not more so) but starting from different sets of deep values is not, I’m afraid, very rational. Please stop being hysterical.

          (NB. Please don’t waste your breath pointing out what I obviously intend as irony.).

    • Draco T Bastard 7.4

      Most people know what the benefits are – none for them but heaps for NACTs rich foreign mates.

      The details haven’t come out because, get this, they’re not known. Although, real projections (those based in fact rather than the NACTs wishful thinking) indicate that it still won’t be worth while.

  8. ghostwhowalksnz 8

    What do you expect from Pravdablog. Wading in creek and fossicking now becomes mining

    The dictionary says otherwise.

    n excavation in the earth from which ore or minerals can be extracted.
    b. The site of such an excavation, with its surface buildings, elevator shafts, and equipment.
    2. A deposit of ore or minerals in the earth or on its surface.

  9. Neil 9

    I do think some land should be off limits but I would like to know what the opportunity costs are. Most likely if geological surveys were done then I’d come to the conclusion that in most instances the economic gains from mining are out-weighed by other considerations. But I’d like to know.

    And how do you think Australia can afford to make its own trains? Maybe something to do with the enormous cross-subsidy from mining to infrastructure.

    (reply to PB above)

    • Lew 9.1

      Neil, as I’ve said before, I can see some merit in a survey programme of this sort which is explicitly decoupled from a stated policy objective to dig, baby, dig — and the same for a review of Schedule 4. I don’t accept that all those areas are automatically sacrosanct; it depends on the criteria used for assessment. But independence, transparency and public consent and engagement with any such undertakings are a fundamental necessity, and none of these are even remotely possible under the current circumstances. So the status quo must remain until cooler heads prevail.

      Or, if the government sees fit, it can try to ram through its changes against the will of the electorate, with whatever consequences result. But that wouldn’t just be bad for the Nats, it’d be bad for the country, and the environment, and the mining industry.


      • Neil 9.1.1

        I’d agree with that, you put it very well as usual.

        “cooler heads” – i take it you don’t mean Labour, or at least a Labour with Carter as conservation minister. couldn’t resist.

        • Lew

          Cooler heads could mean Labour, or less likely a future National government, having distanced itself from the current orthodoxy, much as they have from the rhetoric of Orewa. I think both the red and blue camps will learn a great deal from how this issue plays out, just as both should have from the Foreshore and Seabed (but only one seems to have).


      • lprent 9.1.2

        Pretty much my attitude as well. I’m an earth sciences grad from 30 years ago from when the geological survey was being reduced. I’d like to know what current techniques can show.

        However, the problem is that Brownlee (in particular) is untrustworthy, so I wouldn’t trust him with controlling such a survey. The way this is being played out with such a secretive and basically undemocratic government, I don’t really see how they can establish the trust required to make such a decision – they are far too in love with bullshitting.

        That means I’d prefer to support not taking such a survey because you get the impression that they’d wouldn’t give the full picture when the time for decisions comes to be made. Apart from Brownlee who seems to fabricate whatever he likes to support his current favourite fad, you have others like Nick Smith and Bill English with a fetish for lying by omission with numbers.

        Whatever assets there are can wait until we get a more trustworthy government that discloses all of the factors. The value of the resources will only rise with time. There isn’t any particular reason to do it now.

        Besides, I still haven’t heard a economic case that justifies opening up schedule 4 land with all of the impacts and costs on other industries. Brownlee appears to be incapable of arguing that case because he just resorts to blowhard waffling that a child can reduce to vapor. How in the hell did he ever get to be a minister? Are the Nats that short of talent?

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