The Government’s Earth Day celebration?

Well, the Government really got into the spirit of Earth Day yesterday, a day to “inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment”. However, it’s focus was a bit below the layer of earth that sustains life, and was all about celebrating coal.

First, the Minister of Conservation announced he’d redrawn the boundaries of Otago’s Oteake Conservation Park to exclude an area that had the misfortune of being above a lignite deposit. Lignite is a low-grade coal that New Zealand has a lot of – in fact 80% of NZ’s ‘recoverable’ coal deposits are lignite. Greenpeace slammed the decision, and Labour weakly whined. However, the Greens refused to let this disappointing decision shake our Earth Day celebration. However, soon after…

…the Government SOE Solid Energy announced they’d started mining preparation in Happy Valley – removing the tent camp that has stood watch over the valley for three years, designating the valley a no-go zone, and beginning preparation to turn a beautiful and precious valley into an open-cast eyesore. This completely smashed the Earth Day tranquility, and Metiria was outraged, calling it “criminal” and a “kick in the guts” for the earth on Earth Day. Save Happy Valley Coalition has vowed that the fight to save the valley is not over. Unsurprisingly Labour did not weakly whine on this one – they had years to save the valley from destruction, and 10 million tonnes of coal from being turned into climate change emissions, but didn’t.

So much for celebratory day, huh.

Happy Valley

59 Comments Posted

  1. • “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from the intolerable deteriorations and possible extinction,” The New York Times editorial, April 20, 1970.

    Very prescient, allowing for the journalistic license of using ;must stop’ instead of ‘must reduce’. Thanks to OPEC, EPA and Honda the The New York Times and all the other ‘doomsayers’ were proved correct were correct with their “change your ways or you are doomed” warnings.

  2. I’m expecting an email from Tom Groser next week in regards to his Gerry Brownleeing of the conservation portfolio.

    Wonder if people in Otago are up for their own Happy Valley style camp…? Haven’t heard much from Anyone bar Tim Groser on the conservation park mine (it is the second, as Pike River Coal runs under a park), new form of ‘conservation for DoC.. coal mine conservation parks… a National Act special…?

    Again, Tim Groser is not looking like he understands what conservation is, or that he is up to the role. Stick to WTO agriculture negotiating.. It is something that you know how to do (I presume).

  3. letter from Southland Times last week sometime …

    New Zealand’s conservation parks are created to protect the natural
    resources inside of their boundaries.
    The National Government has just changed the boundaries of Otago’s Oteake
    Conservation Park to allow the mining of coal.
    What a cynical act of exploitation from a Government that is showing no respect for our environment.

  4. skeptic – the coal is not to be used for the making of windmills etc. solid energy has no policy on what the coal is used for.

    firstly – mining kiwi habitat and wetlands is a stupid move, not a good look for NZ and a tarnish on the national party, Gerry Brownlee might not care, but it will effect the national party.

    its not a good look for the Conservation and Trade Minister (and Kyoto negotations minister) Tim Groser. Selling coal and selling the environment short. It is a conflict of interest, and national once again is choosing short term economic growth over the intrinsic value of the NZ outdoors, both in Otago and the West Coast (Waimangaroa Valley aka Happy Valley).

    Not a good look for Don Elder to announce it on Earth Day, not a good look for ‘bluegreen’ Nick Smith.

  5. >>>”one of NZ’s foremost scientists was frog-marched out of his job ”

    Just love Jeanette’s turn of phrase here 🙂
    More ‘Earth Day antics’ by those now in power? Hopefully not.

  6. strings – I too find Phil’s diatribes over meat eating tiresome but…(and here we will disagree 🙂 I respect many his other opinions, in fact, I think he is very perceptive. I also enjoy his writing style very much indeed (I find criticism of his elipsis-use, petty). My greatest wish is that Phil will grasp the nettle, set aside his differences, rally his considerable troop of talents and fight the good fight for the Greens. Who else should he fight for? Phil does great work on Kiwiblog and irritates the hell out of the slower-thinking blue-stuck-in-the-muds. He’s far too nimble for the majority of them. “If only, if only”, the woodpecker cries…
    Demerits are the mark of a dictatorial blog-master, Strings. Hall Prefect Farrar demeans himself by the use of them. Frog has mastered the art of the gentle chide.

  7. Greenfly

    I said I didn’t agree with you, clearly they don’t either – lol

    However, ad hominem is abhorrent, done there or here. Just look at the way FillYou attacks people here regarding which life-form they choose to eat! If that isn’t personal I don’t know what is. Perhaps the Lilly-sitter should introduce demerits too, and then we could have the occasional break from Fill’s rantings (-^-)

  8. strings! a retarded, anti-social misfit or mentally impaired half-wit
    Odd that you should say that! That’s exactly what I was regularly called during my sojourn over on Kiwiblog!

  9. “Coal = Bad” argument is simplistic nonsense.”

    Agreed, well refuted. Skeptic. Pity nobody ever made that argument or you might have had a point.

  10. pml Greenfly

    Somehow the idea of ‘boy racing’ in a prefect is as amusing as me doing it in my moggie minor – speeding around town at 28 MPH (the best it would do unless downhill) vs. today’s idiocy makes me nostalgic!

    Hmm. Strikes me, from your posts, that your being caned didn’t actually turn you into a retarded, anti-social misfit or mentally impaired half-wit. You hold some beliefs I don’t agree with, but I will fight to the death for your right to do that so can’t think of it as an undesirable consequence of corporal punishment in schools!

    Mind you, smacking ====> prostitution ===> smacking hmmmmmmmmmmm, maybe an association there – no I’m not going to look at the British Nanny’s creation of a BDSM market! No, I won’t, so there lol

  11. strings – I was caned at school and still persisted in speeding around the town in a blatty little Ford Prefect – why do you believe bringing back the whack would effect the racer issue now? Especially given that it’s very difficult to claw back ‘gains’ enjoyed by youth (try raising the ‘drinking age’ for example.
    Hui-prostitution-smacking…one thing leasds to another I suppose 🙂

    Skeptic – The “Coal = Bad” argument is simplistic nonsense.

    The “Coal=Good” argument is simplistic nonsense.

  12. Greenfly


    the ‘boy racer’ and the truancy issues,

    discipline in schools, including physical punishment as appropriate, would take care of these and many other ‘youth’ problems.

    (see another place for the entire discussion, though how we went from a Hui, through prostitution to smacking and S59 I’m not sure (-_-)

  13. Getting back to the subject of this thread, which is the mining of Happy Valley for coal. If one looks at coal as an essential ingredient in the steel making process, and one also acknowledges the use if steel in the manufacture of such things as wind turbines and associated equipment (so-called “sustainable” power generation) then is one’s opinion of coal changed at all?
    The “Coal = Bad” argument is simplistic nonsense.

  14. A chance to look back and reminisce about all those Earth Days that have gone before…

    • “…civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind,” biologist George Wald, Harvard University, April 19, 1970.

    • By 1995, “…somewhere between 75 and 85 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.” Sen. Gaylord Nelson, quoting Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, Look magazine, April 1970.

    • Because of increased dust, cloud cover and water vapor “…the planet will cool, the water vapor will fall and freeze, and a new Ice Age will be born,” Newsweek magazine, January 26, 1970.

    • The world will be “…eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age,” Kenneth Watt, speaking at Swarthmore University, April 19, 1970.

    • “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation,” biologist Barry Commoner, University of Washington, writing in the journal Environment, April 1970.

    • “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from the intolerable deteriorations and possible extinction,” The New York Times editorial, April 20, 1970.

    • “By 1985, air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half…” Life magazine, January 1970.

    • “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich, interview in Mademoiselle magazine, April 1970.

    • “…air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone,” Paul Ehrlich, interview in Mademoiselle magazine, April 1970.

    • Ehrlich also predicted that in 1973, 200,000 Americans would die from air pollution, and that by 1980 the life expectancy of Americans would be 42 years.

    • “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” Earth Day organizer Denis Hayes, The Living Wilderness, Spring 1970.

    • “By the year 2000…the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America and Australia, will be in famine,” Peter Gunter, North Texas State University, The Living Wilderness, Spring 1970.

    Remind me what the misanthropic panic du jour is, would you? Something about runaway global warming, though there hasn’t been any warming for a decade and the essential fingerprints of the theory are noticable only by their absence.

  15. Thanks jarbury, it happens to be my electorate too. Looks like a contest, which’ll be weird after the Clark v Musuku non-contest. I await woo-ing.

  16. phil u said: (i’ll be the one standing down the back.. ..holding the ‘have you gone vegan yet russel..? ..if not..why not..?’ placard..

    I thought you’d be the one out the back smoking the dak Phil.

  17. it’s a good idea for norman to stand in mt albert..

    ( i guess it’s too soon for nandors’ comeback..?..)

    you greens should go gangbusters on that one..

    ..and try to win the seat..

    (i’ll be the one standing down the back..

    ..holding the ‘have you gone vegan yet russel..?

    ..if not..why not..?’ placard..




  18. greenfly said: The bending of the park boundaries to accomodate the mining industry – National 101.

    At least MMP stops them gaining anything from doing that with electorate boundaries too – a la Joh Bjelke-Petersen!

  19. If they do mine this valley the company should be required to clean it up afterwards, and to pay for the damage they do – as best we can calculate it.

    Making the members of such a lobby group personally liable, rather than allowing them to incorporate a society for pennies that protects their personal wealth, is not appropriate in my view.

    I’m sorry – that should read “making the members of such a company personally liable, rather than allowing them to incorporate a limited liability company for pennies that protects their personal wealth, is not appropriate in my view.”

  20. Sorry Stephen, was in an email sent to me this morning by the Mt Albert greens. It reads as follows:

    Hi all

    As of today, the only nominee for the candidate for the Mt Albert by-election is Russel Norman. The selection process will still be adhered to but, as Russel is uncontested, is likely to be a formality.

    Russel is excited at the prospect of standing for Mt Albert and having a co-leader as our candidate should also boost media interest in the Green campaign. Radio New Zealand have already asked to speak to the potential candidates and and an interview with Russel with be broadcast by them tomorrow.

    I hope that the electorate will now get behind Russel and put in every effort to help him win the seat.


  21. “..Phil – you’ll keep on keeping on with your admonishing on Frog blog, despite friendly advice from supportive commenters?..”

    ‘friendly advice’ to sshh!!’re right..

    ..i will ignore that..

    ..and as for the facts i present raising questions in peoples’/readers’ minds..?

    impossible to quantify..

    ..the green party advancments in animal welfare..?

    dead easy to quantify..


  22. Slightly off topic (but isn’t everything pretty much so far) Russel Norman for Mt Albert? Looks like the Greens are really gonna go for this one.

  23. Please people, asking phil not to be a dick only encourages the opposite. Bite tongue (fingers?) and ignore. Its worked before.

  24. Anybody interested in this stunning bit of wetland?

    BP just wants to moan about government’s messing up his pie-in-the -sky utopia and Phil apparently wants to rant about veganism (I say apparently as I skip over his posts due to his idiotic language) .

  25. Phil – you’ll keep on keeping on with your admonishing on Frog blog, despite friendly advice from supportive commenters? Hmmm…. nine long years in parliament..?
    have you thought to put together a list of people you’ve successfully turned to veganism over the past 9 years and post it here? I’d be excited to have a look. By his works shall ye judge him..etc

  26. nah..!

    darroch is an enabler..

    ..he just keeps quiet/dosen’t rock the boat..

    (stands and smiles and nods at the party bbq’s..)

    ..that’s been working so well for you hasn’t it george..?’s a marker of the efficacy of your petainish/appeasment–methods..

    ..why don’t you list the advancements in animal welfare achieved by the green party..? nine long years in parliament..?

    ..(cue long silence..)


  27. Phil – in light of george’s comments above, have you considered that you might be driving people away from veganism with your aggression (and I thought that kind of agressive behaviour resulted from meat eating – so confused!)

  28. Phil, get lost you spamming troll. I’m vegan, and I cringe every time I see you thrusting your message aggressively down the throats of people who don’t care.

    That doesn’t mean vegans and vegetarians should be quiet, but that your strategy is completely useless. PETA may be sexists, but they’ve got the right idea: you won’t bring people to your way of life over by attacking them, but by making your message more attractive.

    Phil, frog doesn’t censor you, despite your constant whinging, but for the sake of vegans everywhere, I wish she/he/it would.

  29. Phil – ..even if i get one to listen..’s worth it..

    I listened! Will you stop harping now? 🙂

    Personally I’d hate to think that Greens were homogenous. There is strength and resiliance in difference and diversity. Pounding every Green supporter to be vegan is counterproductive, no matter how correct you might be.

  30. “..Phil! You’ve chilled the hearts of vegetarians everywhere!..”

    ..i hope i am..

    ..their clinging to the animal fat/inhumane practises by consuming milk/cheese etc..

    ..are as incremental a solution as you could wish for..

    but i’m actually aiming to chill the hearts of carnivores.. shock them into shaking their addictions..

    ..even if i get one to listen..’s worth it..

    ..the vegetarians are almost there..

    ..and to them i can confirm/attest to the exquisite compounding of the benefits they realised by stopping eating meat..

    ..if they now stop eating dairy/become vegan..

    ..then they can stand tall and proud..

    ..and be ‘green’..



  31. Froglet doesn’t get off scott free here, of course. As I have noted numerously before, whenever one of the few renewables prospects on the table doesn’t get built then we burn more coal. This is the price of objecting to Aqua et al. We’re gonna dig up more coal and we’re gonna burn it.

    The Green Party – part of the problem.

  32. Bliss: “The private banking sector, in the USA, failed when banks where deregulated.”

    Care to post evidence of when that happened Bliss? Show me where the banks in the US were deregulated and I’ll post thousands of pieces of evidence showing that it was quite the reverse.Government caused the problem as Government always does….by imposing itself into the market and blocking the feed back loops that prevent boom and bust cycles from ever occuring…..they don’t happen in a free market…only in regulated ones.

  33. y’see..i don’t even have to argue this issue on moral/compassionate grounds anymore..

    could one of you ‘green’ carnivores please tell me how you self-deny this fact..

    .pushed up into your faces..


    ‘..farmed-animals-produce-more-waste-in-one-day-than-the-us-human-popul ation-produces-in-3-years/..”


    and you claim to be ‘green’..?..’caring for the environment’..?


    can you not see how laughably sick that is..?

    ..and the damage your addiction to the flesh/fat of sentient beings.. doing to the environment/earth..?

    ..that environment/earth you mouth platitudes about..’caring’ for..

    ..and no doubt talk passionately about at dinner-parties/bbq’s..

    ..even as you masticate on that charred flesh/fat..

    you carnivorous pretend-greens are the modern equivalent of ..

    ..’the compassionate slave-owner’..

    ..tell me how you aren’t..



  34. Phil – I’ve always meant to ask, are you insectivirous (do you eat insects?) I’ve a vested interest in the question and am aware that accidentally ingested insects make a significant (to me!) contribution to the human diet. Do you take special care not to munch me mates?

  35. Sam is almost right when he says Let the financial institutions die, don’t allow them to suck money out of productive intitutions..

    The private banking sector, in the USA, failed when banks where deregulated. The banks that have gone broke should fail. For the investment banks there are productive rolls they fill, that need to be filled. Financing productive projects, for instance. These roles have been neglected in favour of gambling on financial markets.

    So since the private sector failed it is logical that the public sector fills that important gap. What ever you say about the inefficiencies of the public sector, the failures of the private sector have come close to wrecking the entire economy, on which we all rely for our daily bread!

    The deposit taking institutions that failed failed for similar reasons, but they have depositors who had no knowledge of, control over or responsibilities for the actions of “their” banks. Protecting those depositors whilst punishing the banks requires the wisdom of Solomon.


  36. day..

    ..any thought on the animals..?..frog..?

    you never discuss this you frog..?

    i guess that’s because most of you are a large part of the problem–carnivores..

    best you just stick to your

    it does make you seem ‘busy’

    ..however irrelevant..

    earth day..smearth day..

    (‘the joke’ continues..)


  37. Interesting (sic) that Tim Groser is Trade and climate affairs minister and conservation, while he is promoting coal mining on conservation land, and he will then fly to Copenhagen at the end of the year to do Kyoto negotiations.

    Talk about conflict of interest. Steve Chadwick called him a part time conservation minister yesterday, I think that was rather an overstatement.

  38. yes it’s a bit odd – if it was to be mined you’d think they’d just strip its status completely…

  39. stephen cut and pasted: “The area over the deposit remains protected public conservation land adjoining the park. Any decisions on its future use are decisions for future generations,” Mr Groser said.

    and I’d like to ask if he has any suggestions as to why, given that what Mr Groser says is true, the National Government needed to make the changes to the boundaries?

  40. BluePeter says (ad infinitum) Fiddle if you like, I guess. implying that these sorts of issues are all the Green Party seek to adress. Not true, BluePeter, despite your continued repitition of the claim. By your reckoning, the Government should not bother making changes to, for example, the ‘healthy food in schools’ legislation, the ‘boy racer’ issue, the truancy, home heating, research and development etc. etc. issues, because they are trivial. I don’t recall reading comments from you as each of those came up. Did I miss your comments? Could it be that you simply delight in needling the Green Party and Frogblog readers as it suits you, and that your reasons for doing so are shallow and the result of narcissistic self interest? Armed with your claim that ‘we have much bigger problems to address’, you can cynically dismiss scores of issues that interest readers here but it does you no credit. Readers here could adopt the position that ‘it was something BluePeter said, so we can dismiss it out of hand’ and I suspect many do.

  41. frog, on Oteake Conservation Park you don’t mention:

    “The area over the deposit remains protected public conservation land adjoining the park. Any decisions on its future use are decisions for future generations,” Mr Groser said.

    Not really sure what the difference is between public conservation land and national park, but the bulldozers are hardly on the march.

  42. >>If you incompetent capitalists can’t run things properly, admit it and get out of the way.

    If the government would get out of the way, you wouldn’t have boom and bust cycles. This is what you get when government prints money it doesn’t have and gives it to people who cannot pay it back.

    Don’t blame the market for government failures.

    >>we should ignore all smaller issues

    Very few NZers see this as an issue. They’re more concerned about whether they have a job.

    Fiddle if you like, I guess.

  43. BluePeter – We have much bigger problems than some remote valley.
    and so…we should ignore all smaller issues until the ‘bigger’ issues are all cleared up?
    You what?

  44. “The books look bleak. Where do you propose we fine $10b per year in interest alone?”

    Coal mines look bleak. We have much bigger problems than some remote financial system that we have no control over. Let the financial institutions die, don’t allow them to suck money out of productive intitutions.

    If you incompetent capitalists can’t run things properly, admit it and get out of the way.

    By the way, why does carrying out a “baseline environmental monitoring programme” require exclusion of the public? In case people might see what an amazing landscape is being destroyed?

  45. It is a black as coal day for NZ. The Conservation Minister (!) says coal is NZ’s transport fuel future.

  46. We have much bigger problems than some remote valley.

    The books look bleak. Where do you propose we fine $10b per year in interest alone?

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