Audrey Young writes:
The two decision-making ministers have varied throughout Governments since the Overseas Investment Act took effect in 2005 but never before have two ministers come up with different decisions, until now, and such wildly differing reasoning.
On May 3 Sage decided to decline OceanaGold’s application to buy a couple of farms in Waihī to enable the construction of a tailings storage facility that would extend the life of the mine for a further nine years. Clark approved it.
Because decisions require both ministers’ approval, Sage’s decision was effectively a veto.
The decision has shocked the miners’ union, the Labour-affiliated E Tū union, the Employers and Manufacturers’ Association, and Sage’s colleagues in Government.
At stake are 350 jobs, about 250 full-time equivalent direct employees and about 100 existing contractors.
So the Greens have managed to kill off 350 jobs in Waihi. Yay. But this is only a start!
In the document outlining her decision, Sage said that not only was nine years sufficient time to establish new employment opportunities, she criticised the fact that despite the mine having been in operation for some time the median personal income in the Hauraki District was only $23,000.
“This suggests that the applicant’s investment and operation has not necessarily generated substantial and identifiable benefits for the immediately affected community at Waihī.”
Kit Wilson, OceanaGold’s senior community adviser, says the average wage at the mine is $110,000.
Sage seems to have no understanding of median. One employer can’t impact the median wage in an area. And as it happens they pay an average of five times the median income – something you’d think a party that talks about higher wages would want.