The previous government tilted matters too far towards environmental protection. A more balanced approach acknowledges the untapped riches – put at 70 per cent of the country’s potential mineral wealth – tied up in the Crown estate. New Zealand can no more disregard that than it can afford damage to its environmental attributes.
A balanced approach also recognises that not all Crown land is the stuff of pristine scenery or majestic native forest. So large is the Crown estate – it occupies about 30 per cent of New Zealand’s land mass – that there is major potential for mining in selected lower-value areas using modern, relatively non-invasive extraction methods.
This land should not be off limits. Mr Key knows as much. Encouragingly, he is finally showing signs that he also knows the time for prevarication is over.
Even if one built a few dozen mines, they would still cover less than 1% of the conservation estate.
The Press also backs unlocking the land.
… the proposal, as outlined by Key, is sound and sensible, would not be a threat to any land that is really worth protecting, and has much to commend it.
It is not commonly known, though, that New Zealand also has considerable mineral deposits. A geologist’s report two years ago suggested that the in-ground value of metallic minerals and lignite in New Zealand is $240 billion and as the Prime Minister pointed out, in 2008 New Zealand’s third-largest export earner was oil. …
The Government’s careful proposal is not to give carte blanche to extracting this wealth, but rather to free up some of the land where sensitive and undisruptive activity could be undertaken. Some of the land is almost certain to have low or even practically non-existent conservation value. In the vast addition of land to the conservation estate that has taken place in the last decade or more, mostly at the say-so of politicians and bureaucrats with little consultation about it, there is bound to be some that does not need to be there. There can hardly by any objection to low-impact mining in those and other areas, particularly where the potential returns are so great.
This is key – Labour added vast tracts of land to Section 4 – some of which is just gorse. Do not assume all of Section 4 is high conservation value.
The Dominion Post calls for open justice.
Two similar cases, two different outcomes. Is it any wonder people are increasingly questioning whether there are two standards of justice – one for the wealthy, famous and influential and one for everyone else? …
Justice should be administered impartially, regardless of wealth or status. An open justice system and the right to freedom of expression are two of the foundations on which our society is built, as a Law Commission report on suppression made clear last year. “There should be no restriction on publication of information about a court case except in very special circumstances, or for compelling reasons,” it said.
And the ODT supports tax reform:
When all the rorts, loopholes and mechanisms by which a significant proportion of New Zealanders either avoid paying tax – or, quite legally, are not required to – are taken into account, few people would disagree with the proposition, put forward by the Tax Working Group, that the system is “broken”.
They might have varying views on the extent to which this is the case, and almost inevitably will diverge on what the appropriate remedies might be, but Prime Minister John Key and his Government, elected on a platform of tax reform (more popularly described as “tax cuts”) are on solid ground in at least beginning to address the associated issues.
I agree with all four editorials – a fairly rare eventTags: Dominion Post, editorials, mining, name suppression, NZ Herald, ODT, tax, The Press