Schedule 4 mining still on the table

Just as we predicted back in August, the National Party is going to break a hard won consensus around Schedule 4 and punch holes in the most precious parts of our conservation estate.

Kiwis have already made it pretty clear that they don’t want this, but we will have to make our voices heard over the roar of the bulldozers.

Brownlee confirmed approximately $4 million worth of subsidies for mining companies to pick over  areas such as Northland, the Coromandel, Paparoa National Park and Rakiura National Park in Stewart Island.

The Government is also going to change the way that Ministers grant mining permits on ordinary DoC land, with some people expressing fears that this will be done in secret.

I am sure that Metiria will be putting together a submission guide soon, but for those too angry to wait, go to the MED website for the full consultation document and submission information.

If you’ve got a minute, send John Key and e-card right now. Or maybe put this mining petition up on the wall at work and ask your mates to sign it!

55 Comments Posted

  1. An alternative to mining conservation land – how about the nation’s golf courses? I estimate there is something like 20,000 hectares tied up by the 400 or so courses in NZ. Some of them must be sitting on some prime deposits of rare earth elements! It would be good for the golfers too, they would get a few extra challenging bunkers and the mining royalties would offset the green fees. They would be easy to return to the pre-ming condition, too, not as tricky as re-establishing a stand of native forest. It’s what they call a ‘win-win’!

  2. Straterra have a lot to say about Nationals mining plans…

    “The biggest mineral deposits were the $1 trillion lignite coal fields in Southland.”

    The biggest hole of them all isn’t going to be on Great Barrier (there will be none) or Stewart Island (there will be none), but in Southland, at Mataura.
    It will be massive and will result in huge amounts of low-grade lignite coal coming out of the ground and ending up in the atmosphere.

    Don’t forget about us.
    The situation down here is worse than anywhere else in the country and it will affect all of us.

  3. But dirty, stinking lignite that smoulders damply, leaking sulphur and carbon dioxide into the air – that we must dig up and burn, if we are ever to catch Australia fair.

  4. Agreed, we shouldn’t be rushing to dig up the gold. We already have gold mining operations producing enough new gold to meet our industrial and medical needs. As gold mining technology improves, more of the gold in the ground will be able to be extracted, so there is actually a benefit from leaving it in the ground for longer.


  5. Katie and Toad etc. Consider this I was looking on a site a while back about a cure for cancer using nanode technology. This cutting edge technology works at the sub- atomic scale and is one of the most revolutionary breakthroughs for a cure for cancer:

    This is how it works the tumor absorbs Gold atoms where the host body doesn’t. A laser beam goes through the tissue and hits the gold particles that burns the tumor and leaves the rest of the tissue intact!!!

    Apparently this uses very small amounts of gold.

    I think that before [we] start mining all the gold and destroying the environment wouldn’t it be worth getting out all the gold from the bank vaults and melting down jewelry to save lives?

    There just seems to be bars of the stuff in bank vaults doing nothing. should this technology go ahead it could present a major dilema for those hording it!!

  6. Indeed it does, Trevor. But we have already mined far more than we need for any of the purposes you suggest, or for all the jewellery anyone wants to buy for that matter.

    Why not keep the rest in the ground – we will have no need for it for a very long time.

  7. Gold has several useful properties. It is very inactive so is resistant to corrosion. It is a good conductor and malable. Because of this it is (or was?) used for the bond wires within integrated circuits, between the pins and the silicon die. It can also be flattened out into a very thin foil.

    There are probably many other applications as well, taking advantage of one or more of its properties.


  8. Yeah, i posted in the other thread, but theres no money here, as anyone who looks into it will see. I often wonder if politicians are not only morally bankrupt, but also quite thick.

  9. Isn’t mining National parks consistent with Green party policy of allowing NZ’s population to increase until carrying capacity is breached?*

    *Anti-immigration feeling has no place in the Green party Immigration and Population policies released today, Green MP Keith Locke says.

    “The Green Party policy is fundamentally humanitarian. [ We don’t see it as just that one group should be able to wallow in a green environment with plenty of fish per fisherman, uncrowded national parks etc while socialist brothers breath smoke in Linden (China)] ”

  10. *ahem*
    rimu, please speak for yourself.
    I’ve never owned a diamond, and I have a very few pieces of gold jewellery, and no gold fillings!

    FWIW, gold was used extensively in early computer motherboards for it’s excellent conductivity (microthin coatings onto circuits) but I don’t think that lasted for long – newer techniques, etc – now they all seem to be laser-etched in China.

    Gold is used in medical applications as a therapy for arthritis, as well as in dentistry.

    Perhaps there’s just a whole lot in Fort Knox, and a few egyptian pyramids that haven’t yet been effectively dug up; and Swiss banks have a rep for loads of gold in numbered a/c deposit boxes.

    Gold speculation is the main market; there have been rushes on gold as an investment whenever liquidity problems strike ‘paper’ speculative markets, such as the recent failure of the US mortgage market. Before the ’87 crash, a lot of share were liquidated into gold by ‘inside traders’ in the weeks before the fateful October quarter end.

    Oh, that’s right, we have a major money market speculator for a PM now, don’t we? I guess it’s just a case of business as usual for the bright young men, then.

  11. One thing I’ve never figured out. Apparently the human race has mined over 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 dug far more gold out of the ground already than we need for any purpose humanity can put it to, or can even contemplate putting it to in the foreseeable future, but we keep on mining it.

    How bloody dumb.

  12. Fly (not green) on wall during National caucus meeting some time ago.
    “How can we make quick bucks?”
    “Doing the right thing takes too bloody long and generally hurts our mates.”
    “We need to compete with Australia.”
    “How does Australia do it?”
    “They mine the hell out of that huge wasteland, you know, all that uranium and bauxite and stuff.”
    “What do we have?”
    “Apparently there’s gold and coal in the Parks but we can’t touch that!”
    “Stuff the parks, we need cash now, this is a crises!”
    “The people won’t except that!”
    “Oh it’s easy, we’ll just say we’re thinking of opening up the lot to mining, especially places like Stewart Island and Aspiring. The greens will have an aboslute fit and then we’ll back down and do what we’d originally planned anyway. We get what we wanted and they’ll think they’ve beaten us down.”
    “Brilliant, lets do it!”

  13. If we’re all going to make so much money from all this mining can somebody tell me why mining communities are always so poor ?

    I live on the West Coast and I haven’t got my wheelbarrow of money from Pike River yet or Stockton or any of the numerous Gold operations going on

    Surly West Coasters should all be millionaires after all we’ve allowed billions of dollars of treasure to be dug up ?

    I’m beginning to smell a rat

  14. Aardvark says:

    How on earth can we even pretend to be “clean and green, 100% pure” when we’re contemplating stripping $2 billion worth of filthy coal out of the ground and burning it right here in NZ thus incurring a huge carbon-offset debt, while simultaneously wrecking a sizable chunk of a conservation reserve in the process?”

  15. I thankee squire!

    As to Stewart Island – I’m over there soon and will file a report when I return.

  16. “greenfly
    Posted March 23, 2010 at 7:55 AM
    John Key declares Great Barrier Island will be mined.
    John Banks say, “I’ll save the beautiful island”.
    Key declares Great Barrier Island will not be mined!
    John Banks wins the hearts of the people and sails to victory – Mayor of the Super-City!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1 (+4)’

    Very perceptive Greenfly. Even the backbenchers are catching on early in the general election cycle.

  17. I daresay this has already been done somewhere, but could someone help me with understanding what ‘hectares’ means by ‘sizing up’ the different areas quoted by Key and Brownlee to be mined.

    Use Auckland for example, which is being mined for its treasures as we type. If it’s a bigger digger try greater Auckland which includes the 7 councils and ARC. Bigger than that? Then move to the North Island then the South Island. That much, eh! STEWART ISLAND TOO!!! You’re kidding me.

    Is there any safeguard to our icy riches down south, then?

  18. More surgical mining: a KeyHole scar on the landscape (sorry, couldn’t work Brownlee in there this time)

  19. @gsv_nfa

    Of course it won’t be “surgical” mining on Great Barrier or the Coromandel. The gold and silver deposits there are so thinly dispersed that the only viable mining technique is open cast.

  20. gee toad..this really looks like you are actually claiming it as yr

    “..# toad (1926) Says:
    March 23rd, 2010 at 10:28 am

    I’m really looking forward to John Banks lying down in front of a bulldozer.

    The headline: “Supercity Mayor Aspirations Crushed”..”


    and ‘plagiarism’..(especially one so ‘fresh’/newly minted)..

    is a very ‘serious’ business..



  21. phil, thank you for your spirited defense of me on kiwiblog- but I’m sorry to say I didn’t really mind Toad’s use of my extension to his idea. If one or two of my comments resonate in others and are used for a good cause, what’s the harm? (it’s even a little flattering).

  22. phil, I’m not “claiming it as my own”. It complemented my line about Banks and the bulldozer, so I shamelessly stole it. FFS, I can’t imagine anyone expects a hat tip for a comment on one blog in a comment on another blog.

    Anyway, this is a distraction from the very serious issue this blog post is discussing.

  23. sprout..toad just stole yr ‘aspirations-crushed’ line..

    (that i thought was worthy of fly..)

    and is claiming it as his own..over at kiwiblog..

    it’s ok..!

    i’ve tugged his collar..

    “..philu (7446) Says:
    March 23rd, 2010 at 10:33 am plagiarist/thief..!

    you just knicked that ‘aspirations crushed’ line from a commenter at frogblog..!

    what a f*cken nerve..!

    (can’t think up yr own to knick other peoples..?




  24. it is very considerate of key/national to give their scattered/disparate opposition a handy flag to rally round..



  25. Good lord, I found myself cheering for John Banks this morning!
    “There’s far more money in ecotourism than mining” and “No tourist wants to fly over an opencaste mine when flying into clean, green New Zealand”

  26. samiam – you think the Greens don’t agree that,
    ‘NZ is living beyond it’s means. We are borrowing $250m a WEEK to prop up the illusion of our lifestyle.’

    You jest, surely.
    I guess it depends on where the ‘spending cuts’ are made. It’s the ‘site’ that would make a Green howl, just as where the mining is to be undertaken, makes you ‘howl in agony’.
    Location, location, location.

  27. There’s one thing Brownlee is right about and you guys appear to have your heads in the sand about.
    NZ is living beyond it’s means. We are borrowing $250m a WEEK to prop up the illusion of our lifestyle.
    Every time spending cuts are proposed… you howl in agony
    Every time wringing more revenue out is proposed… you howl in agony.
    Something has to give, but what?
    That said, the idea of mining our parks make me howl in agony too.

  28. John Key declares Great Barrier Island will be mined.
    John Banks say, “I’ll save the beautiful island”.
    Key declares Great Barrier Island will not be mined!
    John Banks wins the hearts of the people and sails to victory – Mayor of the Super-City!

  29. “Such coal could be a relatively low-cost fuel for dairy companies, like Westland Milk or Fonterra’s plant at Takaka, and schools and hospitals”

    …providing these companies don’t have to pay for the full cost of their CO2 emissions.


  30. Who said this(dreadful thing)?

    As in the past New Zealanders may have to turn to direct action if they wish to protect ecological integrity. The Government’s suggestion that it may open up conservation land to mining has brought that sharply home. Most New Zealanders, it would seem, do not support the environmental vandalism this is sure to entail, despite all the soothing words about ‘surgical mining’. If the Government is foolish enough to push ahead with its plans, it may find opposition takes an extra-legal as well as legal form. It may prove to be a costly excerise for any company that decides to get involved.

  31. The Green Party should thank National, they just ensured you’ll get over 5% in the next election…

  32. This evening I attended the showing of the doco “Coal Country” in Mataura. The important messages: Mining communities are poor communities, the damage caused is irreparable, economic gains are short lived, mining is never clean and tidy. The Mataura basin is one of the most fertile areas in New Zealand and its potential for food production is immense and that potential would be destroyed with the proposed lignite mining.

    I know Mataura isn’t a National Park but it’s still a place of much value that is under threat .

  33. I agree Drakula. If this proceeds, civil disobedience needs to be an integral part of the plan to oppose it. I’ve never been one to subscribe to the theory that people should just sit back (maybe making a few disgruntled blog posts occasionally in the interim) and wait for the next election.

    I recall it was that approach that got us Rogered, Prebbled, and Ruthenased last time around.

    Not quite sure it is time to call for a National Strike though! Gotta build for that level of action, but if the Nats proceed with some of their industrial relations policy waiting in the wings, it just might happen.


    Toad: I definately vote Green but what is happening here abusing the sanctity of our national parks is absolutely heinious and what I fear most is what damage NAT/ACT is going to do in the remaining time in this term of office.

    We are well on the way to a corporate dictatorship, imperialism.

    I fear the next election will be too late, people need to be mobalising with their feet and call for a national strike !!!

    This happened in Venezuela and braught Chevas back to power.

    I would not be suprised if the next election is sabotaged!!!

  35. John Campbell pressed Brownlee over the status of Stewart Island and its position, given that Brownlee is talikg about 7000 hectares, not including Rakiura/Stewart Island, but at the same time citing National’s strong interest in the rare earth deposits there. Brownlee had no answer to John’s point, that the exploration/exploitation was obviously going to go beyond the hectarage that they were claiming now.
    Good call John Campbell.
    Gerry Brownlee, you’re an arse (squared).

  36. No jh, the pleasure I took in the comment to Campbell was because I love to see the work of environmentalists with a sense of humour.
    Have you none yourself?

  37. Just downloaded the 43-pg discussion summary, and saved the announcement on the website. Scoop have linked to MED as well.
    I could be MIA for a while as I digest that lot…

    and I’ve only just posted off a card to Johnny about Pete Bethune!

    I could be in submission-writing coma for the rest of the week, at this rate [surfacing just-in-time for the mining protest picnic at the end of the month…]… see y’all later.

    Good thing I don’t watch telly, it’s just a huge time-drain 🙂

  38. greenfly
    Posted March 22, 2010 at 7:11 PM

    Emailed comment on Campbell Live –

    National’s mining plans ’smell like Avatar’.
    that’s your fantasy: greedy capitalist versus all the good and nice people who, if the capitalists weren’t around would be living in a beautiful environment , in harmony with nature….


  39. Idiot/Savant usually has some thoughtful insights over at No Right Turn, but I’m afraid he is missing something with this post:

    People now have a clear choice. If you want to live in a strip-mined wasteland, vote National. If you want our environmnt to be protected, vote Labour. It’s that simple.

    No, it is not that simple. Remember, I/S, that it was Labour who approved the Pike River Coal proposal to mine the conservation estate.

    Why would you trust them any more now than then? How about “Vote Green” as the preferred option?

  40. travellerev over on The Standard says this:

    22 March 2010 at 4:34 pm

    I don’t know why anyone is surprised about this. When it turned out that Crosby & Textor were John Key’s strategists it should have been abundantly clear that John Key was the Banker/Mining guy who would be expected to open up New Zealand’s National parks for destruction.

    The man behind Crosby and Textor? Robert Champion de Crespigny, AC
    Chairman a Mining giant and non-executive Chairman of the board of Crosby and Textor.

    The same Robert Champion de Crespigny, AC who is a member of the Neocon think tank
    Centre for independent studies in Sidney whose board of directors reads like a who’s who if the Australian/ Pacific mining and banking industry. Oh, and did I mention that Ruth Richardson was a member of the selfsame board?

    They have a special New Zealand policy branch and in fact In 2008, the CIS held a forum in Auckland entitled ‘Big ideas to Super-size New Zealand’s Economy,’ featuring former RBNZ governor Dr Don Brash, New Zealand Institute CEO Dr Andrew Skilling, EPMU general secretary Andrew Little, and CIS policy analyst Phil Rennie.

    This New Zealand policy unit apparently has access to major New Zealand News outlets and writes opinion pieces etc.

    What would be interested is who would be doing the mining. If any of these people have financial interests in the coming destruction of our National parks we would at least know who to address in the pending revolution.

  41. “Kiwis have already made it pretty clear that they don’t want this”
    Yes, some have, but are they a majority? You do believe in a Democracy so if the majority say “mine” then we mine.
    To take away that right of the majority is ….. you know the word.
    Btw, take that gold ring off and replace it with a shell one.

  42. Emailed comment on Campbell Live –

    National’s mining plans ‘smell like Avatar’.


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