Here’s an amusing written question from Metiria Turei to the Minister of Conservation:
Q: Will he rule out of the review of Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act any consideration of mining potential in Milford Sound; if not, why not?
A: All national parks are encompassed by the review of Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act. Until that review is complete I cannot say which areas will be given further consideration for inclusion or exclusion under Schedule 4.
We know Milford Sound is covered by the review, but Tim couldn’t quite bring himself himself to give the exact answer:
A: No I will not rule it out. Milford Sound is in Fiordland National Park which is included in Schedule 4, so it is encompassed by the Review.
Funnily enough, I’m pretty sure there’s no minerals there of interest anyway (unless you want granite to cap old open cast coalmines).
Ministers have played down speculation about removing sections of National Parks from Schedule 4, only to have your Ministerial advice describe some National Park areas as “highly prospective”, and even tagging three of them by name:
MED considers that conservation land within the Coromandel Peninsula (precious metals), Kahurangi (precious and base metals), Waitutu (petroleum) and eastern Paparoa (coal) to be worthy of inclusion in such a review.
Minister Brownlee has been at pains to say he’s been completely open about it all, yet we had to get his Ministerial advice — which is obviously of intense public interest — under the OIA.
His main response has been that Metiria is being “hysterical”. Name-calling isn’t my idea of open and honest debate.
But ‘openness’ is a facade. In the House a few week’s ago, he refused to answer an oral question; now he won’t answer written ones. This one sought the exact report he was referring to, to confirm we were referring to the right one:
Q: What is the name, author(s), and date of publication of the World Bank report he referred to in his “Opening Address to Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy 2009”?
A: The member has clearly read the report given she has referred to parts of it in written and oral questions.
All in all, Brownlee’s bullish attitude just leads to cartoons like the above, why mythical oil wells in Milford Sound.
John Key must be scratching his head.