Mining

March 23rd, 2010 at 11:20 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Also earmarked for are several parts of the Coromandel Peninsula and part of the Paparoa National Park in Westland.

A total of 2500ha, or 1.5 per cent of the Coromandel, is affected, including land around Thames and the Otahu ecological and Parakawai geological area in the Coromandel Forest Park.

A mining discussion document issued yesterday said the whole peninsula had gold, silver and peat deposits worth up to $54 billion.

The Government said the total area mined in the 7058ha of land it wants to open to mining could be as little as 500ha.

It is also proposing adding 12,400ha of land and marine reserves to the “protected” list, resulting in more protected land overall.

The area the Government proposes taking out of Section 4 is 0.2% of the total section 4, and will be replaced by an even larger amount, which is sensible. Of course not all conservation land, or even schedule 4 land, is of equal value.

My view has always been that decisions should be taken on a case by case basis, weighing up the potential economic benefits vs the environmental impact in that area.

“In fact 500 hectares is smaller than what the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry describes as an average New Zealand sheep and beef farm (550 ha).

500 hectares is basically 2.2 kms by 2.2 kms.. That is not a lot of land nationwide.

There is a segment of the population (and associated lobby groups) that is opposed to all mining, everywhere. You could apply to mine in the middle of a gorse laden field, and they’ll be against it, regardless of how much mineral wealth may be there.

That is a legitimate view to hold, but there is a cost – NZ has less money for schools, less money for hospitals, and lower incomes overall.

Quoting Ministers:

“It’s also worth noting that in productivity terms, workers in the mining sector return an average of $360,000 of GDP per worker, nearly six times the national average.”

Mining creates jobs, investment, export income and tax revenue.

Ms Wilkinson said the Government is also proposing to create a dedicated Conservation Fund based on a portion of future royalties it receives from mining in public conservation areas.  The budget for the fund would be 50 per cent of royalty revenue from minerals (other than petroleum) from public conservation areas, with a minimum of $2 million per annum for the first four years and a maximum of $10 million per annum.

And more money for conservation!

As I say, my view is to consider mining on a case by case basis. So let’s look through the discussion document:

A non-contiguous part of Paparoa National Park is proposed to be removed – the area has been mined in the past and still has current mining permits for it. Land affected is 3,315 hectares out of 39,000 hectares.

Also 2,574 hectares out of 69,290 hectares of mainly Coromandel Forest Park Total Coromandel value is estimated to be $54 billion of mainly gold, silver and peat.

– 705 hectares out of 15,250. Gold and silver estimated at $4.3 billion.

The Barrier inclusion is the one attracting the most attention, with the Herald reporting:

The National MP for Auckland Central, , has criticised Government plans to open Great Barrier Island to mining.

Ms Kaye – whose electorate includes the island – said mining did not stack up “when environmental and economic factors are taken into account, and given the island’s status in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park”. …

Adding to the potential embarrassment for the Government, former National Party Cabinet minister and Auckland City Mayor is also opposing the move.

Mining is banned on Great Barrier under the Auckland City district plan, and can go ahead only if a mining company convinces the local council, or the Environment Court on appeal, to change the rules.

Mr Banks said Te Ahumata plateau was in the direct sight of tourists flying to New Zealand from the United States.

“Can you imagine flying in to ‘100 per cent pure’ New Zealand and witnessing below you the moonscape of international companies degrading the most beautiful island on Earth?” he said.

John Banks’s press release was unequivocal:

“I am the Mayor for Great Barrier Island and I am completely opposed to any mining on this island. It is the untouched jewel in the crown of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.

Mayor Banks says mining would have a severe impact on the local tourism and fishing industries.

“This would be an ecological disaster, a serious blow for the established economy that depends on the Barrier’s untarnished image.

“Tens of thousands of people visit this magnificent destination every year to enjoy its beauty. This has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth at the doorstep of our Super City.”

“The infrastructure needed for mining would be devastating to the local environment. It could mean an enlarged airport, a large scale industrial port and wharf system that would be both expensive and destructive to the pristine environment.

Now Banks is not some foaming environmentalist, opposed to all mining. In his usual subtle way he points out Great Barrier has some unique qualities to it.

I’ve been to Barrier many times, and it is an  island with basically half a dozen roads and 800 residents. One can have a couple of extra mines in the Coromandel, and once they are going, most people won’t even realise they are operating. But even one mine on Barrier would change the island considerably, as Banks points out.

I’m somewhat torn on this one. If there really is $4 billion of gold and silver on the island, I’d want to mine it. Hell, I’d mine my own mother’s grave if there was $4 billion of gold underneath it :-) (Note my mother is alive and well!). At this stage the $4 billion is of course a rough estimate of potential – it may be less than that.

But on an emotional level, I’d hate to see Great Barrier industrialised. One of the things i love about the Barrier is that there is no central power supply on the island – it is almost all solar powered, with generator backups.

And as Banks says, it is the jewel in the crown of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. The island survives on tourism. I’ve yet to be convinced that mining there is a good idea. Possibly I’m a bit biased, as I stay there often, but if I had to list the last places in NZ I want mined, GBI would be high up on that list (Palmerston North however would be first up to be turned into a giant mine :-))

I don’t think it is just NIMBY syndrome. The Barrier is pretty unique with its lack of industrialisation.

To some degree the debate may be academic. The two main contenders for Mayor of Auckland have made it quite clear the District Plan, which bans mining, is not going to be amended – regardless of Section 4 status.

So I do wonder why you would change the law around Section 4, when mining will still be banned under the District Plan.

I think it is good that the Government has put up the consultation paper, and people should have their say. Hopefully it can be a debate that is more intelligent than just saying mining is bad. It is about getting a balance between economic opportunities and environmental protection, and should be on a case by case basis.

Fran O’Sullivan writes on the mining proposals, and says they are a timid toe in the water, not some sort of Naaru type exploration.

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84 Responses to “Mining”

  1. GPT1 (2,122 comments) says:

    Totally agree on the idea of open caste mining Palmerston North.

    Disagree with you on the not in my backyard syndrome re. Great Barrier Island. I sincerely doubt the mining will have a direct negative effect on the Island. What the 800 residents don’t want is “their” Island’s population ballooning out with miners (so coarse, what, what) or the thought of their little piece of paradise being opened up to common folk. It is still only 4.5% of the Island that would be “opened up” and I doubt it would be all of that. With a little less frothing and some more balanced news coverage I would suggest we could get most of that $4billion out with a minimum of fuss.

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  2. GPT1 (2,122 comments) says:

    And another point that you touched on which is highly relevant – only “rich” nations are able to afford to be environmental. Mining will likely open up more of the Conservation Estate to the mystical ordinary New Zealand families that Phil Goff is so concerned on by providing further resources for the care and maintainance of National Parks, walkways, huts etc.

    And if Goff is so worried about “ordinary New Zealand families” why is he against billions of dollars being put into the economy to be spent on things such as health care, schooling and superannuation?

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  3. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    I covered this in my second column today and raise some (what I think are) very important issues.

    When I first heard about the mining I thought “Great, it’ll help us catch Australia and you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs” but then I saw the dollar figures that the government was throwing around.

    For example: Hauling *ALL* of that coal out of the West Coast would require mining 8% of the National Park and guess how much it would return?

    Just two months worth of government borrowing ($2 billion).

    That’s a pittance for such a huge environmental cost — and it gets worse!

    Since that coal will be used right here in NZ and it’s some of the dirtiest coal you can get, the cost to the nation in terms of environmental pollution and carbon offsets is enormous!

    What a dim idea.

    But wait, there’s more — a whole lot more (go read the second column on today’s Aardvark for the rest).

    Only government could take a good idea like this and completely root it to the cost of all taxpayers and citizens (sigh!)

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  4. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    @GPT1

    What the 800 residents don’t want is “their” Island’s population ballooning out with miners…

    And with Police. There would have to be 30 or 40 cops stationed permanently on the island to ensure that the mining went ahead.

    Policing would become the third biggest enterprise on the Barrier, after fishing and, presumably, mining. Mind you, there would be plenty of casual work for the locals salvaging mining equipment that “accidentally” goes into the drink while being unloaded.

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  5. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    Ordinary NZers hardly ever leave their couches and cities.

    I noticed TV3’s news on this last night was fair and balanced. The words ‘pillaging’ and ‘bulldozer’ came up more than a few times.

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  6. m@tt (629 comments) says:

    “There is a segment of the population (and associated lobby groups) that is opposed to all mining, everywhere. You could apply to mine in the middle of a gorse laden field, and they’ll be against it, regardless of how much mineral wealth may be there.”

    There is also the segment that realises Schedule 4 land was put there specifically to protect it from this and oppose it, on sched 4 land only, for that reason.

    They also realise that:
    1. Only a small amount of the billions in wealth is in the area proposed for discussion.
    2. That the same value could be got mining elsewhere on non-schedule 4 land.
    3. That the area of land being added to schedule 4 is going to happen anyway, it’s not a trade off.
    And the biggie.
    4. That no schedule 4 land in the Coromandel or Barrier Island will be mined as a result of this discussion. It’s bait and switch so that later we can be told our concerns have been listened to. So “we’ll just mine over here, ok.”

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  7. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    I’d like to see GBI paved. The whole thing. For the one and only reason that it would piss off all the right people. The very same people, by the way, who are more than happy to push their values on to me through mountains of regulation, tax and spend, all without my permission.

    This debate only exists because there is so much regulation and because most of New Zealand’s resources are collectivised. This is the product of collectivised control, which is conflict. It would all be so much simpler if property rights were respected, if the government had not semi-nationalised gold and silver deposits, and if there was no RMA. New Zealand could have had its billions without touching any national parks had land rights been respected. Instead we’re poor and now beating each other over the head because any solution must be done in a collective. Deck chairs on the f***ing Titanic.

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  8. big bruv (13,926 comments) says:

    “And with Police. There would have to be 30 or 40 cops stationed permanently on the island to ensure that the mining went ahead.”

    Rubbish!

    Once again you make claims you cannot back up, the anti mining brigade is small but vocal.

    We would not need 30-40 police, just one or two armed with tasers should do the trick.

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  9. lastmanstanding (1,297 comments) says:

    FFS Just get on and dig the stuff up lets get some coin in the till When will you idiots get it we are borrowing $240 MILLION DOLLARS every week That $12.5 BILLION DOLLARS a year just to pay for the groceries.

    We dont have the luxury of sitting and contemplating the bolldy environment.

    We are like the family sitting waking for the baliff to come and evict up from the family home so the bank can sell it to recover the mortgage.

    Get over it Built the bridge and move on wankers

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  10. Blue Coast (165 comments) says:

    I come from a place that was blessed with heaps of gold under large swamps. Now we have 100 of acres of first class pasture.

    Don’t see the problem with this small amount of mining provided they clean up

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  11. s.russell (1,642 comments) says:

    Aardvaark,
    Digging up 8% of Paparoa national Park would be appalling. But it will never happen.

    The problem with all this is that you still need a commercially viable proposition. Yes, there is gold here, and silver there etc etc, and yest it would be worth XXX billions if you dug it up. Unfortunately, the concentrations are so low that most of it never will be – it would not repay the cost.

    Among the papers the Govt has released are geological evaluations of Great Barrier Island. They explain that the main reason it has not been mined in 100 years is that no mining company has been convinced that there is a high enough concentration of gold/silver anywhere there to make it worthwhile. Further investigation MAY change this, but even then only a tiny fraction will be worth going after.

    I am sure the same applies pretty much everywhere else.

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  12. OliverI (112 comments) says:

    Mallard has just made a statement on Red Alert….

    http://blog.labour.org.nz/index.php/2010/03/23/dont-waste-your-yen-yuan-or-us/

    “Any mines opened under changes that John Key is proposing will be closed by the next Labour led government.

    There will not be compensation for mining companies.

    So international (or local) mining companies – don’t waste your money.”

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  13. JC (958 comments) says:

    The GBI proposal is surely a stalking horse from which the Govt can gracefully dismount in coming months.

    But it is important to initially include it so that there can be no comeback from the Jethros that it wasn’t considered due to the wealth and influence of the residents and visitors.

    JC

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  14. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    >Digging up 8% of Paparoa national Park would be appalling. But it will never happen.

    Of course it won’t — it’s the same strategy we’ve started to see with increasing monotony from this government.

    eg:

    Govt: We’re going to hike ACC levies on motorcycles by $xxx dollars

    Public: NO! NO! We won’t have it!

    Govt: Okay then, we’ll raise them by a bit less than $xxx dollars

    Public: Great, thanks, we’re so relieved

    Govt: (in hushed tones) suckers, we only wanted to raise it by “a bit less than $xxx dollars” anyway but now the public feels happy about it.

    The same will happen with this mining proposal…

    Threaten to mine huge, environmentally sensitive areas and then, once the public has waled and gnashed their teeth, come back and say “okay, we listened, we’ll only mine a bit less than that much” — whereupon the majority of the public will say “Great, thanks, we’re so relieved” and there’ll be immense chuckling from within the caucus meeting room.

    The average voter is so bloody stupid that the government will continue to get away with this transparent ruse for quite some time (if not forever).

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  15. Jeff83 (745 comments) says:

    These gross amounts are so fricken misleading, a) because they are nothing more than a guess by a mining lobiest and b) do not show the positive impact of the value of the minerals for the NZ economy, as the mining contracts will go to foriegn internationals, if we are lucky Australian, where most of the wealth will go from them.

    Having a quick look on the Crown Minerals website we can expect at most 5% of sales. Now lets say the $110b is accurate that is worth $5b to the taxpayers, which whilst not small change is the cost of all minerals in NZ being dug up, hardly ideal.

    I am not fundamentally against mining but the benefit to NZ needs to be weighed up against the cost. I fail to see how $2b odd of gold and silver on Great Barrier (with a net value to taxpayers of $100m) is worth desicrating a prominant part of an amazing island, for a measely $100m. We waste more than that per week on so many stupid things.

    Yes the above does not take into account wages etc. But do remember unlike Aus we do not have critical mass and we are not going to get local miners, it will all be foreign owned.

    Stuff in coro has more substance. The question though is how much unstability in the land will it cause, I imagine it will be managable.

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  16. Pongo (372 comments) says:

    If GBI was mined the miners would be bonded to return it to a better state than they found it, you would get power over there and a wharf and all the other infrastructure needed so it can be accessed by more than just a few well heeled / adventurous jaffas. The payoff from GBI is all NZers are a couple of hundred k better off. Some of the deals done with miners in Australian National parks have seen huge benefits as the miners have to invest in tourism friendly infrastructure as part of access agreements. Everyone can win if you do the deal properly, why not get TPK to get it done ?

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  17. Nigel (516 comments) says:

    Let’s be a bit more clear on the area, in terms of the estates in the areas it’s
    ~8% of Paparoa
    ~3.6% of Coromandel
    ~4.7% of Great Barrier
    100% of Otahu ( Assume 100% as document just says removal )
    100% of Parakawai ( Assume 100% as document just says removal )
    Personally I think comparing the area considered to the total estate is playing with statistics, similar to saying adding 12,000 hectares which was already proposed should somehow be part of this discussion.
    I’m actually not totally opposed, but I simply don’t trust Brownlee & I agree with Fran O’Sullivan it’s been a botched announcement, it’s tough to be convinced when the areas considered change so often & it appears there is “optimistic” spin like the really only 500 hectares affected “spin”.
    My read is simple, if Brownlee wants this to be his legacy, then it’s simple, make the legislation bullet proof in terms of minimising obvious disruption, ie no open cast mining at all, minimise visual & environment impact during mining & afterwards rebuild to the same or better state.
    If there is $40 billion in there, spend 10% to ensure absolute minimum impact, which would do two things, allow trust for future development & prove our commitment to protecting our environment.
    Last thought, 10 million is peanuts, let’s be serious & make it a decent number, 10% as I say to minimise impact & another 2.5% ( 1 billion ) for conservation.

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  18. GPT1 (2,122 comments) says:

    Toad: And with Police. There would have to be 30 or 40 cops stationed permanently on the island to ensure that the mining went ahead.
    Heh. Terribly stereotypical but most amusing. Have to be an increase in prostitution and taverns too?

    Actually, I would not be surprised if “modern” mining involved on site accomodation for “on days” and off island for “off days”.

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  19. GPT1 (2,122 comments) says:

    Ben: I’d like to see GBI paved. The whole thing. For the one and only reason that it would piss off all the right people. The very same people, by the way, who are more than happy to push their values on to me through mountains of regulation, tax and spend, all without my permission.

    I had a similar thought when I watched the news last night – something along the lines of open caste mining the whole place but I guess it does have some tourism value.

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  20. Paulus (2,632 comments) says:

    I wonder how many of the “Bitchers” have ever been to the Barrier ?

    Typical Labour hippocrites – who gave permission to open, I believe 27 sites in Paparoa, to mine coal eg Pike River?
    Can’t remember!!!!!!!!!!

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  21. Tim Ellis (251 comments) says:

    Mr Mallard at Red Alert has laid down the gauntlet. He appears quite happy to mine in non-conservation land (apparently that doesn’t affect our tourism dollars), and instead will sabotage any potential foreign investment by saying Labour will repeal it when it next becomes government.

    Given the slim likelihood of Labour controlling the Treasury benches in the next decade, there is plenty of time for Labour to change its tune, and Mr Mallard will be long forgotten by then.

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  22. Russell Brown (405 comments) says:

    Having a quick look on the Crown Minerals website we can expect at most 5% of sales. Now lets say the $110b is accurate that is worth $5b to the taxpayers, which whilst not small change is the cost of all minerals in NZ being dug up, hardly ideal.

    Keith Ng has already noted how much of a best-case scenario this is. The four areas named for prospecting contain gold. Gold traditionally appreciates in troubled financial times — and it’s presently at an all-time high. If you base the scrawlings on your envelope on that price, you are arguing:

    (a) That the global economy will never recover

    or

    (b) That there is only downside from here.

    Seriously, I’ve tried to be open-minded about this, but I’m staggered at the weakness of the the case the government is making.

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  23. kowtow (8,517 comments) says:

    Landscapes are always being modified.
    What are cities and towns?
    What is pasture?
    This is all greenie bollocks. Let the country stay poor and in debt,thats what greenies want.Socialist dependency culture.

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  24. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    Perhaps one of the lazy, ignorant fuckwits running the country could get up in front of the TV cameras and attempt to explain what the current govt understands by the term “conservation estate” and what purpose they see in having a “schedule 4″ of conservation land most deserving of protection from shit like, er, mining?

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  25. Tassman (234 comments) says:

    It’s basically simple commonsense really. You if allow a foreign gold investment company like a money trader which might have some economic interests in local investments to dig up whatever and take it away, NZ might get a little bit of it. And when that is gone say one year considering the way this government funds itself and it’s business mates, it might only last a year at the most. Then they will be looking for somewhere else to mine until the whole of NZ is a big hole in the south!

    No pun intended, but if you leave it alone and allow locals to preserve it for its natural beauty, it will last forever. The people who cross the ocean to see it continues to provide ecnomic sustenance for employment, and promote the natural image of NZ which has proven to be a seller overseas – wine, unpoisoned milk and cheese, some natural povi and corned beef, mutton and flaps timber, wool, sheep, fish, and so on. Why the hell people are queueing up to settle in NZ is not for the land scars, but for its natural wonders.

    Which according to my seering device’s warning that Mr. Banks and that other lady’s oppositions are false positives. They will lead the army of opposing fans down the cliff. Mr. Banks has an agenda tied to the Super City, yet another development totally imposed upon the citizens.

    Foreign ownership of stock means NZ only has an aspect founded on a whisper of which its whole economy relies. It’s another version of the mortage market founded on un real values sold elsewhere… I don’t think all this can be sustained by any country all at once; the World Cup and mining NZ will just be too much for 2011. Then t here is the General Election.

    The axeman falls on hisown…

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  26. malcolm (1,952 comments) says:

    500 hectares is basically 2.2 kms by 2.2 kms.. That is not a lot of land nationwide.

    While I agree in principle with mining and taking each case on it’s merits, I’m disappointed that DPF and others are continually misrepresenting this as simply a case of the footprint of the mine. The big issue with mining isn’t the area of the mine, but the disposal of the tailings and run-off leachate. The mine might only be the area of a city block, but the tailings and run-off in particular can be a massive problem.

    The experience in Montana is particularly sobering. They have a huge problem with old mines where the damns holding the tailing and leachate are getting to the end of their lives and someone has to pay to rebuild them. A collapse would be catastrophic for downstream rivers, water supplies, farming etc. So, make the mining companies pay. Well they’re cleverer than that and they operate through subsidiary companies which can be spin off into bankruptcy to avoid the liability. Not unlike the way leaky buildings have been build but the developers have isolated themselves from any liability.

    I’m also worried that by going after mining, National are avoiding the real problems in NZ. Welfare dependency and excessive government spending. Why do we need 15% GST to allow us to put taxes back broadly to where they were before Labour got in? Fix those problems first otherwise the rewards from mining will just go down another blackhole and NZ society will be all the worse for it.

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  27. mattyroo (1,029 comments) says:

    Jesus!!! There have been some idiots comment on some of this proposal….. Notably Toad, and his “assumption” that there would need to be more police, but whenever has that fuckwit and his comrades ever let the facts get in the way of histrionics?

    Some of the comments about 7000Ha of land being mind are just pure idiocy. Yes, 7000Ha has been removed from schedule IV, but the mines that would be opend on this 7000Ha, would in eventuality, cover something more like 700Ha, so more like a postage stamp on Eden Park, rather than Brownlee’s “postcard”.

    Furthermore, the hysteria about only 2Bn being returned to the gummint from mining the likes of Paparoa, this may well be correct. But it is the intangibles that matter most. Such as, jobs, both direct and indirect, all the community spending, by these new jobs, as well as the mines own spending on all ongoing services such as food etc. How many of you idiots have actually been to a mine and seen how much is spent on externialities?

    For an example, BHP’s revenue for 2009 was 50.2Bn, with profit being 12.1Bn, meaning ~75% of their revenue went on expenditure, which we could assume that at least half of this went back into the community, through wages and services etc. This gives an indicative example of how much revenue can be returned to the community. It should also mean a derease in benefits paid by the gummint, as more jobs will be created. Therefore potentially lowering my already horrendous tax bill!!!!!

    Finally, for all the fuckwits crying about profits being repatriated, why don’t you buy shares in some of these mining companies? Infact, you probably already own some!!!! I would bet that most of your Kiwisaver accounts invest in some of these large miners such as BHP, RIO & Anglo American.

    I hope your pious indignation means your Kiwisaver has no shares in any companies such as these Toad?

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  28. Tassman (234 comments) says:

    Which one is owned by Mr. Key///

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  29. mattyroo (1,029 comments) says:

    Malcolm, I’m also worried that National are not focussing on the elephant in the room, which is gummint spending, such as benefits. And, as you say, that any returns to the gummint may go down that massive fucking black hole, that is the dole and the dpb et al.

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  30. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    Once again you make claims you cannot back up, the anti mining brigade is small but vocal.

    We would not need 30-40 police, just one or two armed with tasers should do the trick.

    Or perhaps just threaten the anti-everything brigade with some soap and shampoo. No added chemicals of course.

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  31. Jeff83 (745 comments) says:

    Mattyroo

    You are correct, you note however in my post I brought attention to the difference between BHP operating in Australia, where it owned and operating here. Allot of those costs are headoffice costs, whcih will not be incurred here, further they will likely send their own specalists, again as we have limited ones here (albeit maybe we could get a few of our engineers back from the outback).

    Yes it is worth more than the royalty, but its not worth the gross amount which the government is using as justification and that is the point. The other point is the benefit needs to be compared to the cost, both current and future.

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  32. NeilM (370 comments) says:

    “but I’m staggered at the weakness of the the case the government is making.’

    at present the govt is just putting forward a case that a case maybe be put forward for some mining. They are not at present arguing for specific mining operations and one would expect that when that happens the particular cost/benefit analysis will be made.

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  33. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    oh..!..brian..!..the old ‘dirty-hippy’-line..!..eh..?

    (how retro of you…!..warm waves of nostalgia wash over me..)

    you must be a really old geezer..eh..?

    are you just another refugee from talkback radio..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  34. Poliwatch (335 comments) says:

    I don’t understand why there is so many upset about mining. If they are so upset why don’t they come and protest
    1. The metal quarry 10km from me
    2. The sand winning operation 2km from me
    3. The coal mines 20km from me
    And I do not live in a remote location. It already happens all over the place.

    As for tourism
    1. What do people wander around and look at if they take a tourist trip to White Island
    2. Many people tramp the Corrommandel looking at the old gold mine tracks and structures
    3. Many people stop at Waihi and marvel at the operational gold mine there

    In 50 years time once GBI is mined, it will have another tourist attraction. An old mine all grown over with regenerated bush, a sense of another time and an income for some of those 800 residents on the island.

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  35. malcolm (1,952 comments) says:

    Totally agree, Mattyroo.

    I see Paula Bennet has announced a raft of measures which sound very much like the raft of measures which every government for the last 30 years have announced.

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  36. mattyroo (1,029 comments) says:

    Jeff83, That is why I said “we could assume that at least half of this expenditure went back into the community”, (not exactly in those words though) realising that there will always be head office costs. I never said it was worth the gross amount, I assumed people here were intelligent enough to work this out, I should’ve realised not, based on some of the comments.

    Yes, they will send their own specialists, but all of those people will spend a lot here, whilst here. Both in company expenses and possibly personal expenses. A boon to our hotels etc.

    Hopefully, as you suggest, we can also bring some of our people home from the outback, possibly with a lot of capital that they have earnt in the Australian economy over the previous 20 years they have been working there. Further benefits for NZ!!!!

    The simplistic analysis that people have applied to this whole proposal staggers me, I guess that is why NZ’ers invest in the dead end that is investment property, another reason why our economy and investment attitude is fucked.

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  37. RRM (9,932 comments) says:

    Talk of mining Gt Barrier ‘outs’ John Banks as an anti-mining campaigner, and David Farrar as a NIMBY.

    This thread delivers!!!!! :-D

    [DPF: GBI is not exactly my back yard - that is Thorndon. Now I'd be happy for a mine on Molesworth Street :-)]

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  38. Russell Brown (405 comments) says:

    I don’t understand why there is so many upset about mining. If they are so upset why don’t they come and protest
    1. The metal quarry 10km from me
    2. The sand winning operation 2km from me
    3. The coal mines 20km from me
    And I do not live in a remote location. It already happens all over the place.

    Two points, I’m guessing. None of those will leave cadmium and cyanide leachates. And none of them are on Schedule IV conservation estate.

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  39. Russell Brown (405 comments) says:

    Yes, they will send their own specialists, but all of those people will spend a lot here, whilst here. Both in company expenses and possibly personal expenses. A boon to our hotels etc.

    A hundred or so visiting specialists makes rather a small boon in comparison to a million tourist visits a year, don’t you think?

    Seriously, I’m yet to be convinced that a realistically positive cost-benefit analysis can be made here.

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  40. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    So your hypothesis is that if a couple of parts of NZ are mined we lose 1 million tourists? Well if that’s the level of “cost benefit analysis” that is being done it will be very hard to form a rational decision.

    My hypothesis is once we start digging we will discover unobtanium in vast quantities propelling New Zealand into the richest country league. Based on my hypothesis we would be cheating our children not to dig.

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  41. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    And yeah DPF is a NIMBY

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  42. big bruv (13,926 comments) says:

    What is this bullshit about a few mines killing our tourist industry?

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  43. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    @mattyroo 1:06pm

    I would bet that most of your Kiwisaver accounts invest in some of these large miners such as BHP, RIO & Anglo American.

    Not mine. I chose Asteron as my Kiwisaver provider because they have a policy of not investing in mining companies or other unsustainable activities.

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  44. david (2,557 comments) says:

    Now why would Toad be concerned about the introduction of some law to GBI. HHmmmmm I can’t work that one out ……. unless ………. he and his mates are currently indulging in a whole lot of illegal activities under the cover of their Greenness. Perhaps an IRD office could open as well Toad. Now that would send more than a few shivers chasing after a spine to run down wouldn’t it?

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  45. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    Russell, to play devil’s advocate let me ask: do you think that if these areas are mined we’ll lose a million tourist visits a year as a result?

    I think not :-)

    However, as I blogged today, there are many other reasons why the proposed mining (at least in the form outlined) is a bad, bad thing for NZ.

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  46. malcolm (1,952 comments) says:

    My hypothesis is once we start digging we will discover unobtanium in vast quantities propelling New Zealand into the richest country league.

    Except we are already world leaders in low productvity and welfare dependency and we have a government-in-waiting who would love nothing more than to ensure their future employment by bribing the lazy and uncreative with milk from the government tit. Massive mining wealth + Labour would turn NZ into the Venezuela of the South Pacific.

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  47. bchapman (649 comments) says:

    Its only ever going to be small scale stuff. Pretty well all the profits will be heading O/S and tehre’s bound to be treaty claims. Is it really going to be worth it?

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  48. NeilM (370 comments) says:

    “What is this bullshit about a few mines killing our tourist industry?”

    the point was that there could be a trade off between tourism and mining. It’s possible that some mining might have an impact on the tourism dollar and that would need to be taken into account just as right now geothermal exploitation is restricted so as not to effect tourism around Rotorua negatively.

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  49. mattyroo (1,029 comments) says:

    Russell Brown proves what an idealogical idiot everyone has always thought him to be.

    New Zealand will not lose a single fucking tourist by going ahead with any of this mining, and if you believe so, you really need your fuckin head read. In fact it is likely more tourisim $$$ can be earned, by opening up this mining, more people will come as a result of business here, potentially spending $$$ on tourisim associated ventures whilst here.

    I know that you don’t believe that NZ will lose any tourists Russell, but you have to continue to spout the ideological clap trap that is the Labour/Greens party line don’t you?

    The biggest threat to NZ I have seen in the last couple of days, is the jerk Trevor Mallard saying that Labour will close any mines. What does this do for foreign investment and our desperate need to attract foreign capital? That is almost as treasonous as what Cullen did with ACC and the trainset.

    As someone whom has been involved in oil + gas for a long time, I regularly travel all over the world, to some far flung and neat places, I usually always do something touristic whilst in a new country, whether it is a $100 meal, or a 5 week holiday costing >$25grand. My annual expenses that go towards my travel, hotels, meals, transport etc. are usually in excess of 200k, and I would usually expense in excess of 50k personally in foreign countries.

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  50. mattyroo (1,029 comments) says:

    bchapman, go back and read and understand my post at 1.06pm. FFS, it is not about the profits!!! And, if you’re so worried about the profits disapperaing offshore, buy some shares in these companies and receive the dividends. That way you can prosper too!

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  51. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    @ malcolm yeah just imagine, the government might start nationalising businesses like airlines, banks and railways just like that mad bastard Chavez.

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  52. big bruv (13,926 comments) says:

    Why are the left afraid of unlocking the wealth we have stored underground?

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  53. mattyroo (1,029 comments) says:

    So, I guess you’re in this, Socially Responsible Invest Share Fund then Toad? https://www.asteronkiwisaver.co.nz/kspubwebsite/Content/Funds/ViewFund.aspx?fundId=1060107

    Based on its performance, unit price of 78.8 cents, I guess you’ll be demanding more of my taxes come your retirement, as it is not going to be worth fuck all?

    I really hate ideological contemptuous little cunts like you. You have this pious attitude that you are doing some good, yet when you actually scratch the surface, you’re going to be bludging off me for a long time yet.

    [DPF: Don't call people here the c word - 30 demerits]

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  54. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    “Not mine. I chose Asteron as my Kiwisaver provider because they have a policy of not investing in mining companies or other unsustainable activities.”

    Humans have been mining for 1000s of years. Why do you think it is unsustainable?

    More relevantly, if we stopped mining would the current human population be sustainable?

    Which is more important – people or minerals?

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  55. NeilM (370 comments) says:

    “New Zealand will not lose a single fucking tourist by going ahead with any of this mining…”

    it is something to be considered though. You’re coming across a bit like some of National’s detractors – on the inflexible side.

    But I do think it’s perfectly possible to have some mining in conservation land without hurting tourism.

    as for Labour, the worst possible thing to do would be to close down a mine early in it’s operations. Stripping the land bare and leaving it is not very bright. But that’s the current state of Labour for you.

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  56. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    Let National go in and access whats really there first… before we go making assumptions on if it is or not worthwhile.
    to do that… they will need to do some preliminary mining first.. If hope they strike gold for my pensions sack.

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  57. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    “If hope they strike gold for my pensions sack.”

    I plain to keep mine in a safety deposit box or bank account. Just seems safer :P

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  58. tautokai.baxter (162 comments) says:

    “I’d mine my own mother’s grave if there was $4 billion of gold underneath it :-)”

    And that proves that capitalism brings out the worst in people. However, New Zealanders don’t buy this one. Nikki Kaye coming foward and saying so proves so. Mining on schedule 4 land is crazy, it symbolizes perfectly the short term incentives of the right wing. Don’t worry about future generations, just hand over our precious whenua to foreign mining companies.

    Great work John Key. Let that be your legacy, elitist prick.

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  59. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    @mattyroo 2:20pm

    I really hate ideological contemptuous little cunts like you.

    At least I’m polite and I don’t hate anybody – even those who are so misguided as to think we should destroy everything of real value this planet has to offer to make a quick buck.

    Apparently the human race has mined aver 160,000 tonnes of gold in our history. Most of it is not utilised in any industrial or manufacturing process but sits around to be traded between one party and another. We’ve got far more gold out of the ground already than we need for any purpose humanity can put it to, but we keep on mining it. How bloody dumb.

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  60. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    And that proves that capitalism brings out the worst in people.

    Whereas Communism always brings out stunning examples of humanity….

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  61. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    “However, New Zealanders don’t buy this one. Nikki Kaye coming foward and saying so proves so. ”

    Man logic is in short supply here. It proves nothing more than Nikki Kaye might think its a bad idea (she might also secretly think its a fabo idea but that her political prospects are enhanced by appearing opposed).

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  62. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    “We’ve got far more gold out of the ground already than we need for any purpose humanity can put it to, but we keep on mining it. How bloody dumb.”

    I guess in toad-world there will be no jewellry, nor central bank reserves. What a paradise it seems.

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  63. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    @KiwiGreg – I was including jewellery manufacture when I referred to “manufacturing”, but tell me, why the hell does a banking system need gold?

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  64. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    @ Toad dont know about your facts then – from memory about 30,000t sits in Reserve banks so the balance will mostly be in coins, jewellry and specialty equipment (with some tonnage in commodity investment). Not too many folk have bars of the stuff lying around. But even if they did, who set you up to say what folk can and cant own?

    I’m not a believer in gold reserves for banks (or indeed as an investment) but other people feel passionately it should be part of a balanced portfolio (and for instance when the WB sold gold, the Indian Reserve Bank bought it). Again Im not sure why you are opposed to bankers making these decisions.

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  65. Jeff83 (745 comments) says:

    Tbh Mattyroo dont really think me and you are disagreeing really. We might put different values on the opposite cost for each mine, but if the balance was right we would come to a similar result in many cases I would think.

    I just dont think GBI is one which is worth it.

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  66. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    Have any of you thought about the value of our Rare Earth deposits?

    China is trying to collar the market by buying up rare earth deposits everywhere and so if we hold out we could find ourselves sitting on minerals worth more than gold and silver.
    Every chip is dosed with rare earths.

    And they are not called rare for nothing and we have heaps. (in comparison)

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  67. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    Why are the left afraid of unlocking the wealth we have stored underground?

    They’re not, they are just well and truely pissed that the Nats may get to spend the money!

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  68. backster (2,174 comments) says:

    The idea to identify and exploit the Nations minerals is logical and could potentially close our economic gap with Australia, but it is a hard decision which Labour will seek to undermine just as their resident trolls on this site are doing so passionately. The Government has shown it lacks the fortitude to follow through on its own good and logical ideas. The environmental hurdles established by the former Government will ensure the enrichment of lawyers before the plug is pulled at the last moment.

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  69. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    People keep gold and jewellry as a hedge against inflation.
    Just as some people buy quality art as a hedge against inflation.
    Obviously we have far more art than humanity needs so why do painters keep painting?
    And why don’t governments limit painters to painting no more than they need and limiting purchases to buying no more than they need.

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  70. Repton (769 comments) says:

    Humans have been mining for 1000s of years. Why do you think it is unsustainable?

    Mining is unsustainable by definition — unless you’re putting everything back into the ground later.

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  71. menace (402 comments) says:

    fuck of and dont mine our country.

    make referendums binding and then you would have to fuck off.

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  72. Repton (769 comments) says:

    Have any of you thought about the value of our Rare Earth deposits?

    China is trying to collar the market by buying up rare earth deposits everywhere and so if we hold out we could find ourselves sitting on minerals worth more than gold and silver.
    Every chip is dosed with rare earths.

    And they are not called rare for nothing and we have heaps. (in comparison)

    What rare earths do we have?

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  73. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    @ Repton “Mining is unsustainable by definition — unless you’re putting everything back into the ground later.”

    Well I guess nothing will be sustained if you take a long enough time period. But in terms of relevant human history it appears to be eminently sustainable (meaning “it can be sustained over that time period”).

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  74. Inky_the_Red (760 comments) says:

    Where is Brownlee getting “mining sector return an average of $360,000 of GDP per worker”

    Is Brownlee’s definition of mining the same as the basis of the definition he using to justify his claim.

    As far as I am aware Statistics NZ mining industry includes oil exploration.

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  75. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    The pressure of fronting all this mining stuff must be getting to Big Gerry. This was a monumental fuckup by Gerry in Parliament today (long video if you watch all 4 parts, but you’ll get the gist from the first one).

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  76. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    Looks good Toad – the public will get to see how contemptible Hughes has become, and he will be tared with the same brush as Mallard.

    The voting public do not approve of this sort of behaviour – main reason why Labour are polling so low.

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  77. centreforward (32 comments) says:

    The conservation estate land should be left as conservation estate. A short term frenzy of mining activity is unlikely to build a sustainable hi-tech economy. It’s certainly not going to help promote the clean, green NZ brand in overseas markets.

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  78. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,752 comments) says:

    I’d hate to see Great Barrier industrialised

    I’d hate to see New Zealand industrialised!!

    After all the country is supposed to act as a living museum for tourists come and see backwards hicks at the ass end of the world living in Ye olde times.

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  79. annie (539 comments) says:

    “A non-contiguous part of Paparoa National Park is proposed to be removed – the area has been mined in the past and still has current mining permits for it. Land affected is 3,315 hectares out of 39,000 hectares.”

    Paparoa national park is quite a significant conservation area, and to say that it has been mined before is a bit of a snow job, IMO – though I think mining using the same technology as previously would be perfectly acceptable. Horses, maybe a tiny diesel locomotive or two, and an underground pit would be fine. I grew up in Ohai, a coal mining town, and the underground mines had a very small damage footprint. The area is now opencast and frankly depressingly industrial.

    I agree however that a case-by-case basis is fair – some conservation land seems to have marginal recreational or ecological value – though I strongly believe the National Parks are a hands-off for opencasting.

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  80. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    Repton,

    Go to
    http://www.crownminerals.govt.nz/cms/pdf-library/minerals/minerals-overview-pdfs-1/report17_rareearths.pdf

    New Zealand occurrence and resources
    The occurrence of REE in New Zealand has been reviewed by Officers of the New Zealand Geological Survey (1970;
    monazite and uranothorite), Williams (1974), and Brathwaite and Pirajno (1993). REE, yttrium, scandium and thorium
    minerals found in New Zealand include: allanite, cerianite, daqingshanite, euxenite-polycrase, fergusonite, gadolinite,
    huttonite, kobeite, monazite, mosandrite, samarskite, thorite, xenotime, and yttrotantalite (Railton and Watters, 1990). A
    secondary REE mineral replacing allanite in the Barrytown granite is possibly synchisite (Tulloch, unpublished data).
    Huttonite was discovered and first described from heavy mineral concentrates of West Coast beach sands by Pabst
    and Hutton (1951).
    Minerals which contain minor amounts of REE include titanite, zircon, allanite and apatite, all of which are
    widespread in trace amounts.

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  81. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    GPT1 and Pongo – you have no idea of the demographic that makes up Gt Barrier Island, it sounds like you presume it is another Waiheke full of poseurs, millionaires and property developers – it is not. God forbid it ever becomes one.

    The vast majority of the 800 (more like 650) residents DPF refers to are not well heeled JAFFAs. The last figures I heard (admittedly a few years old now) put RESIDENT average income at around $18,000. (No I didn’t leave a zero off!)

    Most residents on the island live extremely cheaply (in monetary terms). They generate their own power, grow and catch food and live on tight budgets. It is a lifestyle choice for most people who (like many here) are sick of big Government and bureaucracy and all the associated bullshit interference in their lives. They have moved here because it is remote and removed from much of the crap. They are prepared to live a relatively tough existence in exchange for some relative freedom. It is not for the faint of heart, many dreamers have come here to live after visiting during a holiday period, few actually last.

    I have seen the population go from 800 to 1200 in the late 90’s and watched a slow decline since then to around 650. The economy here is an extremely delicate balance for most of the locals. In fact it is in some respects these well heeled JAFFAs contributing to the decline in population.

    Rich JAFFA’s building flash holiday homes bring a short term gain while the house is getting built. Longer term they detract from the island in a couple of ways. Most spend very little locally, coming for holiday periods only and bringing everything they need with them. Understandable as most stuff on the island is around 30% more expensive than on the mainland (petrol $2.40 a litre) due to freight costs and if you are coming with a vehicle why not fill it up with food etc.

    This lack of support for small businesses can force some to close, reducing job prospects, reducing money in circulation in the local economy and compounding problems.

    Second problem is the relatively small percentage of very expensive holiday homes drive up the median property value and therefore the rates. (GBI is part of Auckland City). On small incomes more and more families find they have to sell and move to town further reducing the population.

    Hopefully this shatters your illusion that the island is a retreat for the wealthy like DPF :)

    As for mining issue, I can guarantee opinion on the island will be split (it will be interesting to know the percentages) between those who want the jobs and those who recognise just how special this place is.

    I believe whatever this island does needs to be sustainable and therefore probably has to be based around tourism. This will sustain a small population around the various support industries. The main appeal of the island is it’s lack of commercialisation, it is unique in many ways and should be kept that way. I can’t imagine how it will be possible to mine without majorly detracting from the appeal as a tourism destination.

    However as pointed out a couple of times by others, let’s keep our eyes fixed on the elephant in the room! If we are spending beyond our means then we should be fixing the problem first, not pouring our natural wealth down a gaping money pit! How ironic……lol
    Mining may be profitable for 100 years or so, then what? We spend too much on Government (local and national) and too much on welfare. Fix those problems first, then if the budget isn’t balanced have another look. Throwing the money away will achieve absolutely nothing. People need to stop thinking within their own lifetime.

    I’ve been associated with the island for 15 years. I’ve owned property here for 14 years, I intend living here permanently with my partner and child as soon as we can afford it. (a couple of years when the mortgage is paid off). I am not rich, I am a self employed flooring installer and bought the place in 1995/6 for $38000. It is all I own.
    My place is a 6mx3.5 rough pine bush hut with 4 solar panels and a gas water heater. In the winter it is colder inside than it is outside. I had no driveway for 12 years and had to walk in through the bush with groceries and gas bottles etc. I love it with a passion and spend every possible week here I can. (When there is work). We have been here for 3 weeks and will be here for another 5 weeks this trip. I was here for 7 months last year. I class my self as a semi resident.

    I personally don’t think the mining will go ahead here. This is MY PERSONAL OPINION, I speak for no one else on the island.

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  82. valeriusterminus (243 comments) says:

    Yay
    So to realise the $194B value we need new SOEs;
    State Copper
    State Gold
    State Quartz
    State Silicon
    State Iron
    State Lead
    State {your mineral here}
    Or is is just prospecting license, GST on investment, and PAYE on wages?????
    Say < 10%??

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  83. valeriusterminus (243 comments) says:

    Sorry
    Should have mentioned that we may also benefit from Big Time Royalties – guote Brownlee;
    ” contestable environment fund would be set up that will include 50 per cent of the royalty revenues from minerals excluding oil and will be capped at $10m a year”
    So 50% equates $10m (why suggest a % otherwise)

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  84. samoth (1 comment) says:

    The royalties from mining are rather small when compared to the value of the ore removed. The government retains a 1% royalty on the value of the ore, leaving 99% of it to the mining company!!!
    Typical costs of mining are about 75% of the value of the ore (Waihi Gold Mine) and should the gold price come down significantly mines might go out of business leaving a wasteland and the taxpayer to clean up the mess.

    Why on Earth would you allow a foreign owned entity to come to NZ, take 99% of the ore which I consider at the moment public good owned by all of New Zealanders, and giving back 1% as a royalty. Then on top of this destroying some of our last untouched wilderness, spoiling the clean green image of NZ and leave behind a mess?
    Who will benefit from this?
    1) The shareholders of the mining companies, a tiny minority of the very rich and wealthy
    2) Middlemen handling the deal (these are the people promoting the deal in Wellington and among the hand full of New Zealanders profiting big time). Its usually the same people whom we can all name if were allowed to and who have had their sticky fingers on much of NZs taonga when it was sold to overseas interests.
    3) Very few locals who get gainful employment in the undertaking. Most of the high pay employment will be overseas experts and consultancy firms and equipment suppliers.

    Few benefit, most of us loose….99% of what is rightfully ours at the moment!

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