Hos on mining review

September 6th, 2009 at 1:12 pm by David Farrar

The Herald on Sunday editorial:

Brownlee said in the speech that an estimated 70 per cent of the country’s mineral wealth – which might include zinc, lead, copper, nickel, tin and tungsten – lies under the surface of -administered land and that almost half of it is in Schedule 4 land, beyond the reach of exploitation and locked up for ever. And, with the agreement of the Minister of , Tim Groser, he has ordered a review of that state of affairs.

This is scarcely high treason. Governments routinely review and repeal laws enacted by their predecessors. They know that they misjudge the public mood at their peril – when Don Brash as Opposition leader was sprung suggesting that the ban on nuclear warships would be “gone by lunchtime” if he were PM, he felt the chill wind of public opinion very quickly – but they are not elected to administer the decisions of their political opponents.

Well said. That applies not just to policy! Of course as I remind people Labour itself allowed on conservation land.

It was perhaps predictable that Brownlee’s speech would be greeted with horror by conservationists. Typical was Kevin Hackwell, the tireless advocacy manager for Forest & Bird, who, in an op ed piece in the Herald, conjured the images of an open-cast mine on the bird sanctuary of Little Barrier Island and a large pit scarring the face of Mt Moehau at the top of the Coromandel Peninsula. Others, including former Greens co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons, spoke of the Schedule 4 land as “the jewels in the crown” of the conservation estate, by implication characterising mining as an inevitably destructive process which must, by its nature, consume something of beauty.

Yet good sense must see this as an overreaction: plainly there would not be more than a handful of people who would countenance the idea of mining activity that destroyed wilderness of surpassing beauty and conservation value. But conservationists need to accept that these values do not inhere in every square metre of every piece of Schedule 4 land. And beauty is in the eye of the beholder: an unemployed worker in a small provincial town may detect less lustre than a city yuppie who wants somewhere nice to go tramping. In this argument, as in most, no value is absolute and the minister is entitled to raise the matter for discussion.

As I said, it should be considered on a case by cases basis. What is the projected economic value of a specific area, and what is the environmental value of that specific area.

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6 Responses to “Hos on mining review”

  1. GPT1 (2,043 comments) says:

    And beauty is in the eye of the beholder: an unemployed worker in a small provincial town may detect less lustre than a city yuppie who wants somewhere nice to go tramping.
    And this sums it up really. West Coast native logging wasn’t stopped because it was a good idea (the term sustainable was lost in the hysteria) but because chardonnay socialists thought the feral inbreds on the Coast didn’t know how to look after their land properly.

    I suspect the most votes from green hysteria are from urban types who need a 4×4 for the school run “for safety”.

    Although the media have to take some responsibility. If they are going to allow a review to be beaten up to strip mining of Little Barrier Island by weirdie beardie hysterics then how the hell is any rational debate going to be had?

    As an aside I bet that if any mining is actually approved 99% of the public, including the hippies who will protest, will actually have to look it up on a map before they can even work out what they are protecting.

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  2. scanner (340 comments) says:

    It would have to figure that Twig & Tweet would be right up the front of the queue to oppose this, at times their agenda is nothing short of bizarre.
    As an organisation this group is reasonably flush for coin and very well organised when it comes to twisting the scrum, and they seem to know all the right buttons to push, but since their political pals got chucked to the backbenches they have lost some traction.
    West Coast selective logging was and still is, a sustainable manageable resource, it should be started again.
    We should be having a close look at all the “conservationists” and their silence over the 1080 debate, there are a lot of unanswered questions.

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  3. rimu (51 comments) says:

    Here is a list of land in schedule 4 http://tinyurl.com/l88ten

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  4. kiki (425 comments) says:

    For starters why not mine the 30% private land then we can see how low impact such actions are.

    and I have no real complaint against mining it is the refusal of people to pay the full cost of their actions. How many times does the tax payer step in to pick up the pieces when a company folds and walks away after taking the gain. I read an interesting argument in America where a judge ruled the survival of a small fish should be put above that of water take from a river and the writer compared the effort to protect an object such as a painting like the mona lisa to that put in to protect the living creatures around us and the fact that a painting can easily be replicated but a creature such as a fish or snail for that matter is far beyond anything we could create.

    What price do we put on our world? and when does compromise stop?

    If you stand on banks peninsular and look south you will see no unmodified environment. no untouched river, stream or forest. The compromised is all one side.

    It is interesting to hear farmers (esp. high country) tell how their families have been on the land for 5 generations and how they care and look after the environment but to stand in the Mackenzie basin and see nothing but mud, lichen and haracium for miles. The environment is so screwed that their only hope is to get irrigation water and start dairy farms.

    Pay the full price for your actions and go ahead.

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  5. XChequer (350 comments) says:

    The greens are wankers. They brook no resemblance to the truth or sensibility in their policies.

    Sorry – am still bitter over Keith Locke’s comments re: soldiers photographed with tongue-in-cheek captions on their weapons.

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  6. fredinthegrass (269 comments) says:

    Scanner – your information re twig and tweet’s financial state is a mile out. Poor as church crows they are!
    As a member I know. Also as a member I – as a number of us do – believe that mining on the Conservation Estate
    is a goer on a case-by-case basis. Not all twig and tweeters have their collective heads in the tree litter.
    Some of us joined with the explicit aim of providing a more reasoned approach to these issues.
    Sure we believe in conservation, but not in tree-hugging.

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