Mining and the Conservation Estate

August 31st, 2009 at 1:26 pm by David Farrar

I am a regular user and lover of our estate. I have done walks in Fiordland, tramps in the Tararuas, and think our estate is a wonderful thing.

NZ’s land area is 268,680 square kilometres which is 26,868,000 hectares.

administers 8,258,087 hectares which is 30.7358% of the total NZ land mass.

Now if someone was talking about bulldozing down 25% of the conservation estate and converting it into mines, skyscrapers and the like, I’d be first down at the picket line.

But am I against any whatsoever on the conservation estate? Of course not. Let us say a mine will take up 100 hectares. So that would reduce the conservation estate from 30.7358% of NZ to 30.7354% – a reduction of 0.0004%.

And how much income can be earnt from one mine? Well Pike River is expected to earn around $170 million a year of export income.

Overall there may be up to $240 billion of mineral wealth beneath our feet.

Now some are claiming any mining will undermine our clean green image and threaten our tourism industry. With all respect, that is hysterical nonsense. A reduction of from 30.7358% conservation estate to 30.7354% conservation estate will threaten tourism? Maybe if one was talking a 1% to 5% reduction, people might notice, but they won’t.

Just apply the common sense test to yourself. When you travel overseas, do you go to Wikipedia and check if there has ever been any mining on the conservation estate of a country you are travelling to? Do you think anyone else does?

Now this is not an argument for saying yes to every mining proposal made. They should be treated on a case by case basis, weighing up the particular conservation value of a location (not all parts of the estate are equal) and the likely economic value of mining there.  You’re not going to approve a mine in the middle of the Milford Track, but there are many areas where mining would barely be noticed. Again do it on a case by case basis.

There is a difference between a conservationist and a preservationist. A preservationist wants the status quo frozen for ever – preserved. They will argue passionately that every square metre of the conservation estate is sacred and must be preserved – that even one hectare less than the current 8,258,087 is evil.

A conservationist will look for the balance. They may say okay that 11 hectares of land has huge economic value. What if we purchased 500 hectares of land over there to replace it in the conservation estate. The conservation estate gets to grow, we get the economic benefits of the land’s economic value – a win/win. That is what we should look for.

Now some will argue all mining is evil and unsustainable and we should not do it. That is a valid viewpoint. However that viewpoint has consequences. It means less money for schools, less money for healthcare, lower wages and continuing a decline in the relative income gap with Australia and other countries.

As I said, I think one should take it on a case by case basis. The conservation estate is not something frozen in time. In fact generally it has been growing – as has the mining industry. One can expand both.

Tags: , ,

62 Responses to “Mining and the Conservation Estate”

  1. MT_Tinman (3,186 comments) says:

    Most “conservation” is simply ignorance based on a false idea that denies nature or a chance to tell people what to do.

    Mine and be damned.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. MikeMan (172 comments) says:

    I am with DPF on this one.

    If they were planning to strip mine fiordland then “hell no!” would be the answer.

    If the impact is 100, 200 or even 500 hecteres for many 10’s or 100’s of millions of dollars of exports per year and 10’s or 100’s of jobs then go for it.

    Although setting a 5:1 ratio might also be a good idea, for every hectare affected 5 must be purchased by the commerical enity and handed over to DOC.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. backster (2,171 comments) says:

    The important thing is to make sure there are no snails in the way. Pike River paid $20,000 per snail to rescue and relocate the endangered ones..
    In her endeavour to bankrupt the Nation before she was tossed out of office Liabour bought valuable Merino grazing land on a name your own price basis from the Grazier, allowed him to remain in the Station House for life, and added the Land to the Conservation Department to grow pig fern.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    Come on DPF – you more than anyone know that this is a non issue. Or maybe that is why you are putting it up as a topic?

    For Brownlee to come out with this the day after Key said he was basically ignoring 1.5 million Kiwis was nothing more than a fend by National. Anything to divert attention, so they came up with what they thought was the most contentious issue they could while not actually saying they would do anything. They can come back later, say we had a look and its a no go. Classic poiticking.

    I can’t believe people are falling for this.

    [DPF: You really need to get over your obsession on the smacking referendum. Not everything is about that, and this issue is unrelated. What is proposed is nnot in fact that contentious - but sensible, which is why I support it. And it is very much in line with Gerry Brownlee's long stated sentiments.]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Pongo (372 comments) says:

    You only have to go and have a look at the Manapouri power scheme which is in the middle of nowhere but you would never know it was there.
    As long as it done carefully and returned to normal once mining has finished can we not be sensible and get on with it instead of all this shrill nonsense from the fringes. You would think miners were going to be hunting down kiwis before they strip mine milford sound.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Kimble (4,438 comments) says:

    bullshit Kaya

    there is more than one thing happening at any point in time

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    Your opinion Kimble – I’ll stick with mine, (no pun intended) :)

    That release came completely out of left field. Why would you? Makes absolutely no sense.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,069 comments) says:

    You only have to go and have a look at the Manapouri power scheme which is in the middle of nowhere but you would never know it was there.

    And you only have to know a little bit about the history of the Manapouri power scheme to know how important public protest is to preserve places like Lake Manapouri.

    Overall there may be up to $240 billion of mineral wealth beneath our feet.

    That’s a suspiciously large figure – anyone know where it comes from?

    [DPF: The minerals industry so don't treat it as gospel. What is important is the value at a particular site rather than the overall estimate]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    DPF,

    It is worth noting that Brownlee’s “$240 billion” figure includes $100 billion in lignite reserves … the dirtiest form of coal that there is. I wonder how likely it is that we’ll be able as a country to dig this out and use it, in the emerging carbon sensitive international economic order? Of course, a “clean coal” miracle technology may come along … but until then, I wouldn’t go putting that resource in NZ’s assets column.

    [DPF: I agree but hey people are convinced there is some miracle technology to stop cows belching methane, so some sort of clean coal technology may be as likely]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    DPF
    Why shouldn’t people view all that National is doing right now as deflection and spin, if it had been Helen you would have said or suggested so!
    Brownlee also referred to child assault to me rather than a smack on the bum.

    As for the mining and development, case by case, site by site certainly.
    maybe we’ll all get out and walk more of it as a result.

    [DPF: I suppose it is possible Gerry Brownlee asked the Minerals Association to schedule their conference a couple of days after the smacking referendum, or one might just be paranoid]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. malcolm (1,952 comments) says:

    I agree with the general point of David’s piece, however it’s a little disingenuous to present mining as something limited to a small, statistically insignificant area. Coal mining yes (in some cases), but certainly not open-cast mineral mining. The latter has a justifiably bad reputation for causing widespread problems due to toxic tailings and run-off into rivers etc. Mining in a small area can cause widespread damage.

    So the public are right to be suspicious when they hear Brownlee talking about _mining_. There’s mining and there’s mining.

    cheers

    Malcolm

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. homepaddock (408 comments) says:

    When the Oteake Conservation Park which lies between North and Central Otago was formed 195 hectares over a lignite reserve was excluded, leaving 64,805 hectares in the conservation estate.

    That’s a tiny amount of land which might be able to be mined (and there are no plans to mine it now) while leaving a large area protected.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. emmess (1,428 comments) says:

    Nice try DPF but you can’t reason with a Greenie

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. malcolm (1,952 comments) says:

    AG wrote

    It is worth noting that Brownlee’s “$240 billion” figure includes $100 billion in lignite reserves … the dirtiest form of coal that there is. I wonder how likely it is that we’ll be able as a country to dig this out and use it, in the emerging carbon sensitive international economic order? Of course, a “clean coal” miracle technology may come along … but until then, I wouldn’t go putting that resource in NZ’s assets column.

    Good point. Lignite is a dirty and low-energy form of coat (closer to peat than coal) and not what you would consider an exportable product. Too bulky and low in energy. For this reason most lignite is burned in power stations built next to the field. The stuff is scrapped out of the ground and conveyored directly to the power station.

    Does anyone know where this $100B lignite is? Down south I suspect.

    If we could just get rid of the Tiwai aluminium smelter we would get a solid 700 MW of base-load generation and a substantial reduction in C02 to boot.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. alex Masterley (1,517 comments) says:

    It’s largely in Southland.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. anonymouse (715 comments) says:

    If we could just get rid of the Tiwai aluminium smelter we would get a solid 700 MW of base-load generation and a substantial reduction in C02 to boot.

    A) To haul the 700MW all the way north to where it is needed ( Auckland) would require spending at least $100m on new transmission lines
    B) While NZ would “get rid of” some CO2 emmissions, do you think that the demand for that Al was just going to vanish?. more than likely it would eventually cause a plant to be built that uses coal or gas as the primary power source, and this would overall increase global emissions
    C) NZ makes some of the purest Al in the world, and in the process generate export earnings and keep up to 3000 ppl employed,

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    Let us say a mine will take up 100 hectares.

    How many mines are that small?

    And how many 100 hectare mines do you propose?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    [DPF: I agree but hey people are convinced there is some miracle technology to stop cows belching methane, so some sort of clean coal technology may be as likely]

    Not quite the same … cows already exist and are doing their thing, with resultant effects on the level of greenhouse gasses NZ emits. Given the existence of these emissions, and also given NZ’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it makes a lot of sense to see if there isn’t some way to reduce them (short of shooting cows … I know you would rather that didn’t happen). So if there is some bio-technology that can reduce methane emissions, this would be a good thing. But if there isn’t, then we’re going to have to keep on with them (given our economy’s dairy dependence) and find other ways to make the needed cuts.

    Lignite deposits, however, are embodied carbon. Burning it will release new, additional CO2 into the atmosphere (as well as whole lot of other nasty stuff) on top of our existing emissions. So unless and until we can come up with “clean coal” technology, it’s highly likely we won’t be able to use it and still meet our greenhouse gas reduction targets.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. RRM (9,917 comments) says:

    Superb post.

    Not a single “hysterical-greenie-leftie-zealot-trying-to-bankrupt-us-all” in sight.

    This leftie listens to the political right, when the arguments are constructive…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    Yes malcolm. You’re quite right that turning off Tiwai would give lots of baseload power back. Any idea what it would do to our balance of payments? Do you care?

    As for lignite – no plans to mine it at the moment, and no idea what useful things it might be good for in the future. Or then again, maybe we’ll have gone nuclear by then, and will be smiling gently at the memory of the carbon fuelled economy we once had.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. big bruv (13,886 comments) says:

    Send in the bulldozers immediately, mine where you like and replant it when you are finished.

    We simply cannot afford to miss this opportunity.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. s.russell (1,642 comments) says:

    The trouble with all that (drool drool) $240 billion of mineral deposits is that very little of it will ever be economic to extract. In an era when coal mines are closing down – even ones like Ohai which produced very high quality coal – the idea that miners are raring to dig up lignite is highly dubious.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    Will we get to see the greenies laying the the path of bulldozers and chained to trees??

    (will the cops get a better chance to try out the new tazers)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. malcolm (1,952 comments) says:

    My comment about getting rid of Tiwai was somewhat flippant. Although I think it will happen for purely economic reasons.

    Given the cost of new generation, the inherent economy of hydro and rising power prices, at some point Tiwai will be out-bid by other power users and will close. It’s relatively small and has had long period of negative profitability in the past, despite the very low energy price they pay. It’s had an axe hanging over it for years.

    Re transporting this power to Auckland. That problem is slowly being taken care of by load growth and climate change. The flow on the HVDC link isn’t always south to north and the dry year problem is getting worse. Some reinforcement of the existing transmission lines in the lower part of the island would be required if Tiwai closed, however even $100M is small change for 700 MW of hydro power.

    cheers

    Malcolm

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. malcolm (1,952 comments) says:

    [DPF: I agree but hey people are convinced there is some miracle technology to stop cows belching methane, so some sort of clean coal technology may be as likely]

    Clean coal technology has been around for a long time. Historically the term referred to reducing NOx and SO2 but now it is confusingly bundled with CO2 sequestering, which is the new and largely unproven technology akin to the low-methane cow ideas. Removing NOx and SO2 has long being possible, but not widely implemented as it requires a lot of energy and hence reduces the efficiency of the power station (so you get more CO2, but less of the conventional pollutants).

    There is a lot of research and pilot plants for CO2 sequestering from coal-fired power station.

    cheers

    Malcolm

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. Komata (1,191 comments) says:

    FWIW, my few cents:

    Southland Lignite: Many millions of tons available (several-century’s worth in fact) – but NOT for burning in power stations!

    Some here will no doubt have heard of the Fischer-Troppe process to extract OIL from coal (cf SaASOL). Southland Lignite is ideal for the purpose and could make NZ self-sufficient in oil-based fuels such as petrol etc. There are also the oil-shale beds at Orepuki (Southland), which were tested during the late 19th-early 20th centuries before being undercut by cheap oil from overseas (specifically the US) and consequently closed-down.

    The resources are there – the political-will, at the moment, is not (too many ‘Green’s’ with hidden agenda’s).

    Precious metal mining (gold, silver): Due to the fact that open-casting creates what is essentially an inverted pyramid as it goes down into the ground, the use of open-cast mining techniques for gold and silver has severe vertical limitations (200 metres approximately) at which point the sides of the excavation cave-in. Below that depth ‘underground’ is the only option.

    Underground operations (because of their nature) do not have a very large visual-footprint, while environmentally, current regulations are almost draconian in their obsession with restoration so that the vicinity of an underground mine must be actually BETTER than when it started operating (Make of that what you will).

    Water quality: It should be remembered that, despite what the ‘Preservationists/environmentalists’ say about arsenates, mercury etc etc leaching-out because of mining operations, this happens ANYWAY under natural conditions (You’d be surprised at what is in your water. . .) and that it is not exacerbated by mining.

    The Future: For this country, the difficulty has been that a very small minority (the ‘green’ lobby) has managed, through some very loud talking, (and a lack of media investigation as to their motives) to paralyse this country in respect of mining, so that now, if the word ‘mine’ is mentioned we get the ‘shock, horror’ reaction that is currently being exhibited in respect of Jerry Brownlee’s proposals. (BTW, has anyone noticed that the protester’s reactions are more emotive rather than factual?)

    Sadly, I doubt that things will change – there are too many ‘vested interests’ against mining per se’ (and especially against precious-metal mining), with personal observation indicating that a very high number of those who actively and volubly protested against mining (especially on the Coromandel peninsular) also smoked ‘illegal substances’

    Interestingly, several of these individuals later became MP’s; As I said, ‘vested interests. .’

    Hope this clarifies things a little.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    …also smoked ‘illegal substances’

    I bet they listened to ‘rock and roll’ too.* Why the quote marks?

    *stolen from Ryan Sproull somewhere

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. Brian Marshall (202 comments) says:

    We used to have this excellent agency called “the NZ forestry service” that made a return from the forests and used the monies to fund conservation in the areas where it was needed.
    It wasn’t the answer to everything, but it did a damn good job.
    Now we have DOC and they and their green friends like to get rid of anything approaching a commercial enterprise in the conservation estate.
    Personally I think we are worse for it, especially as they seem to have a vendetta against anything not native to NZ including people.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    The seam on the Bill Gardner prospect is much less than 100 hectares and is of such a high yield (lumps of gold – not dust) and indeed richer than the Klondyke and can be mined at about 1 ha a year with small machinery (a digger and a rotating sieve) and is estimated to contain $300 million tonnes of gold.

    DoC will not allow him access over a track 1km long. So they are valuing the forest floor of the track at $300,000 a square metre.
    Go figure.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. Fisiani (1,039 comments) says:

    Despoiling 0.0004% of the conservation estate.
    How can we visualise that

    To a Greenie it would be Rape and pillage and indescribable environmental buchery.(butchery)

    To a realist –

    Imagine a pimple at the back of your head at the hair line.
    Now make that pimple smaller than a pinhead.
    Actually it’s even smaller than a pinhead sized pimple and probably just as insignificant and trifling

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. paradigm (452 comments) says:

    Will we get to see the greenies laying the the path of bulldozers and chained to trees??

    (will the cops get a better chance to try out the new tazers)

    Quote Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy at them and do the same to the tossers in Mt Albert who get in the way of the motorway bypass:

    Do you have any idea how much damage this bulldozer would suffer if was to roll straight over you?

    No how much?

    None what-so-ever.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    It’s not just conservation areas. It’s so ludicrous that small gold miners have virtually been shut out of vast chunks of the SOuth Island, though the Government quite likes the big guys.

    There’s supposed to be one Otago case where a small mine application was blocked because it would have disturbed the relics and mess left by pioneer miners, which now are a heritage item.

    Mining is far less intrusive now, and deserves a better deal.

    If we don’t take the ore out some other citizens will within the next century or two.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. Rhino (19 comments) says:

    If we are going to mine sections of the conservation estate it is better to work out sooner rather than later where we will do it, before millions is spent on conservation in the region. Lets label regions where it is best to rape & pillage, leave land ownership with DoC so they can leach off the miners and funnel funds into improving the rest of the estate. It much the same as building dams.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Whether we mine or not will be a mote point soon, we will have no bloody choice. I see the zealots at National are pushing ahead with their beloved ETS scheme. Fucking clowns, when they have successfully bankrupted thousands of business and sucked the last tax dollar out of the peasants it will dawn on them there is no more to be had. So whats left, my guess it will be in the dirt below our feet.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    another one of those things national kept as an after-election ‘surprise’..

    ..thought they ‘wouldn’t mention it’..before the election..eh..?

    (there’s been more than a few of those..eh..?..)

    i mean..if you’d told me national/key were going to do a george dubya bush on our conservation estate..

    i’d have likely said you were paranoid..

    ..that ‘they wouldn’t dare’..)

    one -term-john..eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. Shunda barunda (2,983 comments) says:

    The problem is not the policy it is the attitude of people that will take advantage of it. I have a good knowledge of some of the contractors in my area and to be honest they are nothing but professional vandals.
    It is the sense of entitlement that these people display that pisses me off, if there are minerals in the ground they think they have a right to them regardless of the wishes of the wider community.
    I am not opposed to mining and I think DPF has written a very reasonable post, the problem is some in the industry are far from reasonable and would probably even call DPF a greenie. Most of these ARE the smaller operators, the bigger ones tend to have full time staff to ensure proper monitoring.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. Southern Raider (1,829 comments) says:

    Problem is Ponsoby/Rongatai wankers who have never been to the country and assume DOC land means National Park.

    Surely with DOC struggling for funding this would be an ideal way to boost their operational budget and improve facilities for tourists? Why doesn’t JK just say all dividends from mining on DOC estates will be put back into tourism?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    DPF – Good post.

    RRM – Not a single “hysterical-greenie-leftie-zealot-trying-to-bankrupt-us-all” in sight. Yeah that’s quite interesting. Yet if we believed TV news we’d would be left with the impression that vast numbers of passionate, suitably qualified individuals are leading the conservation drive and will stonewall all/any mining plans. I wonder how much editing the TV new producers do…. you know, to remove interviewees’ qualifying observations about the acceptability of mining activities subject to due care etc.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. Chthoniid (2,047 comments) says:

    Thought I’d join in the fun.

    First, even by DoC’s own land classification scehmes, areas vary a lot in terms of their contributions to biodiversity contribution. The quality of the conservation estate is extremely varied, and not all of it is vital black robin or kakapo habitat. DoC also does not have a budget to manage large chunks of the area they’re supposed to manage anyway.

    Second, mining has many effects that are within the normal tolerances of NZ ecosystems. NZ ecosystems are adapted to to bounce back from extraordinary physical damage (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, glacial actions, hurricanes and forest fires). It is a catastrophe-prone region and one where adaptation to large scale physical damage is a natural event. Where the NZ natural landcsapes are extraordinarily vulnerable is to invasive pests. In short, digging a big hole is ok, letting rats go isn’t.

    Third, in terms of ecological research, mining companies have been innovators in the area of ecological restoration. One of the side benefits of such work is they often do decent surveys of native species (in ways that happen extremely rarely otherwise- I’ve sampled vials of creepy-crawlies collected as far back as 1914 and the early 70s- nobody had ever look at them before).

    In short, I’m relaxed about mining operations in the conservation estate. I think we can manage these mineral resources a lot better than we have. And given ecological restoration work is now a required feature of such operations, there is the skill and expertise to avoid the excesses of the past.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. Innocent bystander (163 comments) says:

    There already is mining on conservation land so it is not a case of 31% of the country’s land being locked up. The areas in schedule 4 are the areas with the highest conservation value including some areas with even higher reserve status than national parks (e.g. nature and scientific reserves with international significance). Conservation value is a subjective thing but by definition there shouldn’t be (many) areas of low conservation value within these areas where it would be “okay” to mine.

    The impact from mining doesn’t just come from leaving holes in the ground, it also comes from dumping the waste rock, pollution of waterways, building access roads to get equipment in and stuff out (actually quite a large potential impact) and the potential loss of amenity value if its somewhere that people actually go. Some of these impacts can be mitigated to a degree and there are some good examples of low impact mining around. Unfortunately since the government is also in the process of taking the hatchet to our environmental laws I don’t really have any confidence that they will require mining companies to play nice.

    I’m more concerned about the damage National is doing to the country’s reputation. Like it or not clean and green and 100% pure is our brand and we will pay the price if people start to work out that its a crock. With this policy alolng with a number of National’s other decisions (climate change, RMA, fuel efficiency standards etc) that brand seems to be suffering the death of a thousand cuts. Even if you don’t give a kakapo’s fart about the environment you should care about the damage this could do to our economy. Damage that is being done in many cases for short term profit.

    Something else I should point out – I bet that figure for the value of untapped mineral wealth only counts the benefits and none of the costs.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. Crusader (314 comments) says:

    What Chthoniid said.

    Predators have caused far more damage to NZ’s biodiversity than any mine.
    DOC are presently presiding over the extinction of species. They need more money to set up predator free zones.
    If some of that cash was to come from a mining company in return for mining rights (in low conservation-value areas approved by DOC, and subject to stringent pollution monitoring and returning the landscape after completion) what would be the harm in that?

    Reputation? Don’t be silly. Every sane person in the world knows there are conservation trade-offs. If a few hysterical greenies decided we were not pure enough for them, so what? Considering the CO2 footprint of international flights they should stay home and feel smug about themselves in private.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  42. kiwireader (45 comments) says:

    Well if they do follow through, I hope they use the same pragmatic rationale with regard to our nuclear free policy, i.e. scrap it and mend relations with the US.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  43. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    @ me:

    [DPF: You really need to get over your obsession on the smacking referendum. Not everything is about that, and this issue is unrelated. What is proposed is nnot in fact that contentious - but sensible, which is why I support it. And it is very much in line with Gerry Brownlee's long stated sentiments.]

    – I don’t have any obsessions, least of all to do with politics. I just hate to see politicians manipulate shit and watch normally sane, reasonable people fall for it. I hate seeing politicians ignore the will of the majority of the people – if that seems like obsession then so be it. The failure to listen was what ultimately killed the Labour Party, I would prefer to not see National and Key do the same thing. Up until now I have been impressed with what they do.

    I agree totally with you in one respect about this issue, it is sensible and I also support it, but I disagree when you say it isn’t contentious, this is NZ, not Russia. Anything to do with digging holes and ripping shit out of the ground will be contentious whether you are a hairy greenie or not and whether you cover your tracks or not. Even the most rabid capitalists recognise the intangible value of NZ’s environment and “clean green” reputation around the world. Certainly it is viable but as with the nuclear bogeyman, it will be contentious. (BTW, I live half the year on the boundary of a massive DOC area).
    .

    As for the timing of the Brownlee’s announcement being coincidental, excuse me while I grab my crate of Tui. There would have been at least a dozen “distractions” on the boil that could have been used, in my opinion this one was just top of the list and National needed it badly. Nice work.

    Personally I feel your relative silence on the National Party reaction to the referendum result has been interesting. Other than a comment that you were “surprised” National didn’t go with the Boscowen amendment you haven’t said a word yet. Considering this is the most important issue National have had to deal with since the election I find that surprising. What is your point of view on Key’s standpoint?

    Remember the referendum! (you’re right, I’m obsessed.)

    [DPF: You are the perfect example fo someone so blinded, you don't see. My criticism of the Govt's response has been sustained enough to actually get quoted on a press gallery blog. I've said numerous times I think they should change the law and have said I think it was wrong not to back the Boscawen Bill. I also devoted my NBR column to the issue.]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  44. Innocent bystander (163 comments) says:

    Crusader – I was not just talking about tourism, although obviously thats important, and it is not just a few hysterical greenies. Clean and Green is part of the brand that we use to differentiate ourselves from other countries in overseas markets. It has been (wrongly) questioned already over the issue of food miles and if it becomes apparent that it really is just a marketing slogan we will be right royally fucked. While the issue of mining in national parks by itself won’t do this, our poor environmental performance to date (thanks Labour!) and National’s policies will put us on that path.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  45. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    DPF – I try my best not to be “one-eyed” or “blinded” as you suggest, it is one of those pet peeves of mine so if I have been I apologise.

    I don’t pretend to read everything you write but as far as I am aware you have said nothing critical on Kiwiblog and you certainly said nothing critical in your NBR column. (I presume you are referring to the “Brave or Foolish” article.) You did an excellent analysis of likely outcomes and risk analysis but it was hardly critical. Your closing paragraph in the NBR stated:

    “There remains the possibility of course that this will not hurt Key, it may even boost him. His original anti-smacking law deal saw him soar up the polls, while Labour kept getting the blame. Of course this time he is more firmly in the gun.

    However voters do like strong leadership. John Howard showed in Australia that you can implement unpopular policies, yet still gain support from those who disagree with you on them. If voters think a PM is doing what he believes to be right, they will prefer that to someone who never stands for anything. Howard got elected four times this way.”

    Is that critical?

    If you have written other stuff please send me the links.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  46. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    Rubbish,

    Does Australias mining activites put any of these nimbys off holidaying in Bondi or Melbourne?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  47. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    Kaya,

    One of the things DPF is noted for is the prodigous amount of posts and topics covered on this blog. I am sure DPF will be posting about National on a new topic in the next day or two, does that make it an attempt to change the subject from mining? Or is it just part of the normal pattern of posting for years on this blog?

    Currently the lead items on stuff are gang patches, swine flu, littering, a fraud case, and a shooting
    The Herald has gang patches, fraud, coke accident, the shooting
    Scoop has various fuel standards pieces
    Are they all part of this conspiracy also?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  48. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    Herman – Who said anything about changing the subject from mining? DPF has told me he was critical of National re their response to the referendum, I have said I haven’t read it and asked for references. Are you his guardian angel?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  49. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    For Brownlee to come out with this the day after Key said he was basically ignoring 1.5 million Kiwis was nothing more than a fend by National. Anything to divert attention

    your relative silence on the National Party reaction to the referendum result has been interesting. Other than a comment that you were “surprised” National didn’t go with the Boscowen amendment you haven’t said a word yet

    I was responding to these comments you have made. Which I take to say that you consider the right/nats are co-ordinating efforts to distract from the referendum. A bit of a leap I might suggest.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  50. Innocent bystander (163 comments) says:

    Herman Poole – I did say that the mining policy by itself won’t stuff us but that aside, we shouldn’t be taking lessons from the aussies on how to attract tourists. Given the relative size of the two economies, the populations and the land area (basically any measure you could think of) our tourism industry’s performance is much better than theirs. Their tourism industry is also a relative minnow within their overall economy.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  51. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    Herman Poole – sorry, thought you were talking about a later post.

    I wouldn’t go as far as to say co-ordinating, just using something that was already there to reduce the heat. Perfect strategy. Call me a cynic, not a conspiracy theorist. What do you expect after 9 years of Labour/Green!!!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  52. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    Watching Nightline – deflection complete, pacification underway. Nice.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  53. Nigel (514 comments) says:

    Well I guess as my post probably triggered the “hysterical nonsense” tag & I just got back online I’ll try & explain why DPF is naive.

    NZ’s image will be affected, there will be protests & given the deftness(not) of the announcement I expect they will be very public & loud, anyone who thinks that will have no impact is just that, naive.

    The people who suggest Manapouri has not had an impact, obviously have never lived there ( I have ), it had a major impact, it was saved from even far worse impact by massive public protest.

    A wise person & I don’t put Brownlie in that category would have worked with Forest & Bird / DOC to identify areas which could be mined & then gone from there, am I saying it’s possible there are areas, absolutely, but frankly I don’t believe given how this has been approached that the areas will be identified correctly or exploited safely ( this smells of either loud mouth bluster shooting from the hip policy, which is starting to be a trend in this govt or a diversion over the smacking debate, I suspect the first ) & I include maintaining our “clean green image” as a factor in safe exploitation.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  54. Chthoniid (2,047 comments) says:

    The complaint about the tourism impact reminds me of the (previous) Australian governments decision to ban safari hunts of large salties up on the NT. One of the arguments used against it was that it would send the wrong image to other tourists (never mind the NT govt shots up to 500 nuisance crocs a year anyway, or that 5-7m kangaroos get shot annually or…)

    This was quickly followed up with a decision to site a nuclear waste dump in the NT.

    Apparently tourists would be more bothered by some ‘big game’ hunter shooting large ‘man eating crocs’ than nuclear waste :D

    Likewise, when Iceland resumed commercial whaling again, critics warned it would kill off their tourism and whale-watching industry. Their whale watching industry then had their best year yet with all the publicity that went with it.

    Nearly any policy initiative can be opposed by couching in terms of upsetting some tourist somewhere. But the reality is tourists are not a sovereign power and have no property rights to these resources.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  55. lyndon (325 comments) says:

    DPF, I wondered if you’d be happy to make those arguments specifically about schedule 4 conservation land – the bits that people have looked at and decided they were so precious we should restrict activity on them more heavily than national parks. And which is a rather smaller area.

    Because that’s what we’re actually talking about.

    [DPF: FIrst of all it is not just about Schedule 4. There are those who oppose mining on any DOC land regardless. As for Schedule 4, I think it should again be on a case by case basis. Sure make the barrier higher (as it should be for areas with higher conservation value) but Schedule 4 area is not set as gospel - it also varies greatly over time I understand]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  56. Nigel (514 comments) says:

    Tourists definitely do not have sovereign rights nor indeed would I look at it that way, but any impact on the rate of tourism is either a cost or a benefit to NZ, I just figure tourism is an income stream & the implications to that income stream need to be factored into the return any mining would generate.
    I guess I never voted National with the expectation that mining National Parks was on the agenda. It’s a price I’d rather not pay to return NZ to a better functioning economy & I don’t think the numbers being talked about make it worthwhile, basically it’s a sideshow & there alot more important things that need sorting, but if we do want to talk about impacting a National Park, getting a route from Queenstown to Milford would be the first thing I’d be considering, not freaking mining.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  57. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    Well Pike River is expected to earn around $170 million a year of export income.

    I suspect not now, DPF.

    Guess some think it is okay as long as it is only snails that are killed.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  58. Pete George (23,559 comments) says:

    Bad time to try and make cheap points. They’re talking about a large explosion and possible thirty-plus people unaccounted for. Those people will have friends and family and workmates.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  59. dad4justice (8,219 comments) says:

    You are sick toad. Go eat a dead snail you twisted ####!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  60. adze (2,126 comments) says:

    What a fucking inappropriate comment toad.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  61. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    As if we needed more confirmation that Greens are wankers.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote