Unconscionable

Written By: - Date published: 3:00 pm, November 29th, 2010 - 23 comments
Categories: capitalism, climate change, Economy, energy, Environment - Tags: , , ,

A couple of comments by one of the commentators on the Standard stuck in my mind. Jenny drew attention to the fact that the Commissioner for the Environment had pulled the “Lignite and Climate Change: The High Cost of Low Grade Coal” report that was initially to be released last Tuesday.

I don’t buy the Commissioners comment, just minutes before the report’s release and at a time when the 29 Pike River miners were still assumed to be alive, that the initial timing for the report was  ‘inappropriate’. If the timing was inappropriate then, then one is left to wonder when and how would one deem it appropriate to publish?

To be clear. The extraction of lignite has nothing to do with the type of mining operation that was under way at Pike River.  Tellingly in my book, the proposition is to mine lignite to produce diesel.

Now, far be it for me to suggest that  political pressure was brought to bear on the Commissioner for the Environment. And far be it for me to speculate that Gerry ‘Sexy Coal’ Brownlie might be rather happy to sit back and silently observe any attempts under way to turn any debate about coal into a highly emotive and dishonest one getting a clear run.

But from where I sit,  Pike River and the emotional reactions surrounding the deaths of the miners are being cynically exploited by pro mining parties seeking, not simply less restrictive environmental protections with regards mining in our conservation estate, but to pre-emptively strike down and neutralise any potential support for a report  that focuses on a far more questionable utilisation of mining technology and the questionable  propositions associated with lignite extraction re,  what the coal could be used for.

Last Friday,  Jenny commented on what might have been the initial emergence of pro-mining arguments from last Thursday. Two days after the Lignite report’s release was delayed,  intellectually bankrupt and potentially emotive suggestions that the miners at Pike River died, not because of some natural and unfortunate occurrence or because of any faulty mine management, but because of objections to mining were surfacing.

And as Marty’s Sickening attempts at political point-scoring post highlights, the subtle vilification of anyone objecting to mining operations is well under way and  gathering apace. The parameters for permissible and sensible debate may already have been laid to waste by the time  the Lignite and Climate Change report is released. Never mind climate collapse and the, probably by then, collapsed Cancun talks. Or the fact that the report is about the extraction of certain types of coal, its use and climate collapse.  Support of the reports findings will be subtly associated in many minds with somehow countenancing the deaths of miners. And that will be the beginnings and ends of any debate.

23 comments on “Unconscionable”

  1. Mr. Infinity 1

    What about aging irrelevant progressive acolyte Jim Anderton using it to foster anti-mining sentiment? What about him, eh? Is he unconscionable?

    As for Cancun collapsing, I hope so, it’ll be hilarious.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Good on Jim Anderton for stepping up and taking a leadership role for the miners and on behalf of the miners that you will never see John Key or Bill English taking.

      Anderton’s veteran perspective as well as his political impeachability, now that it is clear that he will retire in due course and so has nothing to gain from his efforts politically, will provide a powerful voice for ordinary workers in the next few months.

      • dave brown 1.1.1

        Unimpeachability I think you mean…
        I have a different view of Jim Anderton but I agree on Pike River he is not milking it and was one of the first to condemn the glorification of suffering on the Coast by fat cats like Key. But I would put my faith in a revival of the old Miners Union militancy not Jim Anderton.

    • George 1.2

      Mr. Idiocy, I hope your lung collapses. It’ll be hilarious.

      IrishBill: banned for a week for pointlessness.

  2. Mr. Infinity 2

    Awww, did I huwt your fweelwings, making fun of the pointless drones crapping on about Global Warming (coldest day ever in Britain today, I know, I know weather =/= climate; except when it’s hot, right?)

    Jim Anderton is nothing but a poor man’s Winston. How many parties has he been through? 4? Labour, New Labour, Alliance and now the self aggrandising “Jim Anderton’s Progressive”. Winston however, has charm and charisma and brains and a Machiavellian streak which makes him admirable beyond political lines – Jim Anderton is a boring waste of a seat. Also I doubt his “efforts” will do jack to “help” anyone as he has no power and is not in government (thank God). Also I note Labour now supports part-privatisation and despite all their bleatings about GST, will only remove it from fresh food or something. This country isn’t exactly drifting to the right, but it is drifting towards Keyism.

    Also, back on Jim Anderton, the miners would and probably do hate him because he wants to cut their jobs in order to save a few trees.


    IrishBill: banned for a week for pointlessness.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      Jim Anderton is well respected amongst unionists and miners as being someone of principle and someone who will look out for workers come hell or high water. He also has the connections and the political experience to make a real difference.

      back on Jim Anderton, the miners would and probably do hate him because he wants to cut their jobs in order to save a few trees.

      Hey don’t let me stop you from living in right wing fairyland buddy.

      • Jane 2.1.1

        The west coast has a National party mp. i don’t think they like jim anderton.

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1

          Hey remind me again Jane, how many votes did Jim Anderton lose by in the West Coast?

          • Jane 2.1.1.1.1

            He wasn’t. But remind me how it is possible for someone to vote National and like Jim anderton who is the opposite? What about giving me a reason why they would like someone who doesn’t support more jobs for miners, when the west coast is a mining district.

            unionists are always on the left, their support of a left winger is nothing special. real people who make up their mind with each election cycle based on the quality of policy presented by the two parties are an indicator of someones political compass. you implied when you made a b*tchy comment on mr. infinity’s post that west coast miners would like jim anderton seeing as unionists do. i hold that if they’re voting national, they wouldn’t.

            [lprent: you are currently under a ban. Won’t kill this comment as people have responded to it. Subsequent ones will get trashed.]

            • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.1.1

              unionists are always on the left, their support of a left winger is nothing special. real people who make up their mind

              Repeating the Right wing meme that working people, unionists and “real people” as you put it, have nothing in common with each another?

              Au contraire, their labour hours and the nation’s economic productivity due to those labour hours are what they hold completely in common, that and the struggle against the capital controlling class who act to suppress wage growth at every turn.

              you implied when you made a b*tchy comment on mr. infinity’s post that west coast miners would like jim anderton seeing as unionists do. i hold that if they’re voting national, they wouldn’t.

              A bitchy comment? Or did you mean a botchy comment? I couldn’t tell.

              Anyways, you have breakdown stats which tell you how many west coast coal miners voted national in 2008? Go on please do share.

            • BLiP 2.1.1.1.1.2

              real people who make up their mind with each election cycle based on the quality of policy presented by the two parties are an indicator of someones political compass.

              Real people? Informed people know that there are more than two parties.

    • lprent 2.2

      😈 Does read like a compendium of how to be an unoriginal drone… One boring hackneyed phrase after another.

  3. stever 3

    I’ve just noticed a word hurtling towards us from Public Address…………..watch out, twatcock!

  4. Nandor has not held back his opinions on coal:

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Pike-River—the-hard-coaled-facts/tabid/1341/articleID/188481/Default.aspx
    Pike River – the hard coaled facts
    Let’s be blunt – it is time to end the coal industry Let’s be blunt – it is time to end the coal industry
    Mon, 29 Nov 2010 1:49p.m.

    By Nandor Tanczos

    The bodies of the Pike River miners haven’t even been recovered yet and the industry PR has begun. Days before John Key’s announcement of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the disaster, the Chief Executive of the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce was on National Radio talking up the economic benefits of coal mining for the West Coast. On the same day the Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn was saying that business at Pike River needs to continue. Commendably Pike River Coal itself was more circumspect, saying that the focus for now is the families.

    Most New Zealanders would agree. The nation watched alongside the families as the tragedy unfolded. People spoke about it in their lunch rooms and over cups of tea. We waited to hear the outcome, hoping to be able to celebrate some unlikely good news. We felt the shock and sadness of the families at the news of those 29 deaths. Now our thoughts and prayers are with them as they farewell the departed, those they love who have returned to the Oneness of all things.

    There are always lessons to be found in death of course – reminders of how short our time is in this life, how unpredictable the end. I feel for those whose last words to their beloved were harsh and angry, an overspill of some small irritation now made completely irrelevant. I think about the personal legacy each man left, unknown to me, but alive in the hearts of friends and family, of times shared together, of gestures of love, friendship, generosity and solidarity. The stuff that really matters once you are gone.

    In one sense, though, these men’s deaths are part of the price paid for coal. Coal mining IS dangerous. There are many things that can be done to manage and mitigate risk but we are deluding ourselves if we think we can have coal without some people dying for it. Just as we are deluding ourselves if we think we can sustain our petroleum addiction by drilling in ever more difficult and dangerous places without suffering more marine catastrophes. Fossil fuel addiction, like P addiction, has little regard for its collateral damage.

    The real destruction from continued coal mining, though, will be the deaths it causes outside the mines rather than inside them. As the world meets this week in Cancun to have another go at trying to avert a climatic disaster, there is growing concern about feedback loops such as the methane from thawing Siberian permafrost. The other big concern is the impact that coal is having on the climate – especially as the reality of peak oil hits home.

    Conventional oil production is already plateauing and will begin to dwindle. At the same time increasing demand will push prices up to record highs (prices will be erratic but the trend will be upwards). One of the likely responses will be an increase in the use of tar sands and coal-to-liquid fuel to fill the gap. In fact New Zealand’s own government owned Solid Energy has just such a plan to convert lignite coal to diesel. The world cannot afford to keep burning coal even at our current rate, never mind increasing its use through these mad schemes. At the same time the coal industry’s great hope of Carbon Capture & Storage is being increasingly discredited.

    Let’s be blunt – it is time to end the coal industry. It is important that we properly acknowledge the deaths of the 29 men at Pike River, but in the end there is a bigger question to be decided than mine safety.

    • Jenny 4.1

      This is such a dignified and considered statement from Nandor Tanczos as he dwells on these coal miners deaths, with a sensitivity and genuine concern for this terrible loss, while still raising the wider issues. In my opinion it deserves to be a post on it’s own.

      Thank you CJ.

    • Lats 4.2

      Full credit to Nandor for the sensitivity he displayed here, but isn’t this just more political point scoring? Isn’t Nandor using the tragedy on the Coast to raise an issue dear to his heart, i.e. the environmental cost of our addiction to fossil fuel? I’m sympatheitc to his point of view, but if we are going to lambast the right for using the Pike River disaster as an excuse to push their pro-mining agenda then surely we ought to be even-handed and at least be a little critical of folk from the left when they do the same to push their barrow…

      (ducks head)

      • Jenny 4.2.1

        .
        It would be hard for the right to tell Nandor to shut up for raising these issues, when they have been exploiting these deaths mercilessly to push their pro-mining agenda, for the best part of a week now.

        Still, I think it would have taken a fair amount of courage for Nandor to make this statement to counter the pro-mining propaganda coming from the MSM.

        • Lats 4.2.1.1

          Agreed, just making the comment that we ought not be seen as hypocritical. If we give the right a hard time then the left should not be immune from criticism if they start to act in a similar manner.

          • Jenny 4.2.1.1.1

            Lats you seem to be arguing that the left should shut up and cave into the pressure from the right to keep quiet during this time. All the while the right are furiously pushing their message in every media forum they can find.

            You say, “the left should not be immune from criticism if they start to act in a similar manner.”

            This is misconstruing the chain of events, I would say that the left should not be immune from criticism if they didn’t speak out.

  5. vto 5

    I have a sense of dread about what the Royal Commission of Inquiry will find..

    Given the many problems this mine has had in gestation and the fact that Pike River Coal has never had quite enough money to do things properly, I suspect the Inquiry is going to find very bad things in the way this mine was set up and the finger of blame for the disaster pointing straight at the company.

    Direct knowledge tells me one of many examples which is this – that, due to never having enough money to do it properly, money was spent drilling and investigating to prove the resource but inadequate on drilling and investigating to establish how to extract it. It was developed as it went rather than working it all out properly beforehand. Which explains the myriad major problems in gestation. They made it up as they went in.

    Keep it in mind as this unfolds …

    • ZeeBop 5.1

      Investors have been burned in the Peak River mine, Key reluctance to estimate the damage to his mining policy is understandable, but what’s not is his obsession to making worker even less safe since ACC covers accidents!
      And we know Key has been talking up the blow out in ACC! Well now its got into millions for the Pike River
      Disaster! You see Key is a speculator money man at heart, he knows immediately where the risks are and
      how to profit from them. He knows that he can appeal to his own ideological base by help stopping union
      representatives entering the workplace and doesn’t have to take any fallout when ACC balloons as a result of employees being more reticient to breach their concerns with management over safety!

      But what’s astounding to me is a business has to allow all kinds of inspectors onto the premises, is quite
      happy for its executives to have their lunches brought onto the premises, or hire third party contractors to
      do any number of jobs arouond the workplace, but if a different kind of employee wants advice on
      life and death, hires a expert in the field, then they can’t. That’s Human right for you in NZ, no avenues
      for dissent, in fact how can we say we live up to Human Rights when nobody can cite a case of their
      abuse.

      Take for instance the government use of urgency, and parliament routinely ignoring section 7 reports,
      so government basically can rush into law anti-human right legislation and never have a debate so
      no parliamentations can be held individually to accouont for supporting the breach to human rights.
      Classic, rubbish the rules, then sweep under the carpet the paper trail, Hitler would have been proud.
      This goes to the heart of a democracy, when the rule makers can both abuse and not be held to account
      by history. Shame NZ, SHAME.

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Step Too Far.
    A Crown Asset? For reasons relating to its own political convenience, the Crown pretends to believe that “No one owns the water.” To say otherwise would re-vivify the promises contained in the Treaty of Waitangi – most particularly those pertaining to the power of the chiefs and their proprietary rights ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where Money Comes From
    Most people would say, no doubt, that they have a pretty good idea of what money is. They live with the reality of money every day. It is what is needed to buy the necessities of life and to maintain a decent standard of living. You get money, they would ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Banned by the Green Party leadership: Jill Abigail on women’s rights and trans rights
    The article below was an opinion piece that appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Te Awa (the NZ Green Party’s newsletter) and on the Greens website.  In keeping with their policy of hostility to women defending women’s right to female-only spaces, Green bureaucrats have since removed the opinion piece.  ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

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