7 of 12 Parliamentary questions on mining

I confess I haven’t looked it up, but surely it must be a record that 7 of the 12 questions to be asked in parliament today are about the same topic – mining our last remaining protected places.

Here is the litany of questions that Ministers must answer, beginning with our very own Metiria Turei:

METIRIA TUREI to the Minister of Tourism: Does he stand by his statement in the House that “I certainly agree that part of New Zealand’s important brand is the ‘clean, green’ image”?

Hon PHIL GOFF to the Prime Minister: When he said “What I stand by is environmentally sensitive mining”, did he actually mean mining in environmentally sensitive areas?

CHRIS AUCHINVOLE to the Minister of Energy and Resources: What were the findings of the Government stocktake of Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act?

TE URUROA FLAVELL to the Minister of Energy and Resources: Translation: How will the Government resolve the comments by Nikki Kaye MP, about the plans to open up Great Barrier Island to mining, reported as this does not stack up “when environmental and economic factors are taken into account, and given the island’s status in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park”; and what role will Ngāti Rehua play in achieving any resolution?

Hon DAVID PARKER to the Minister of Conservation: Why does she think it proper to cede control of mining in conservation areas by allowing the Minster of Energy and Resources to be a co-decision-maker in these decisions?

CATHERINE DELAHUNTY to the Minister of Energy and Resources: Does he stand by his statement that “I have made it clear that the Government has no intention of mining high-value conservation land”?

GRANT ROBERTSON to the Minister of State Services: Does he stand by his statement that he ordered the inquiries into the leaking of information about the stocktake of Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act and changes to the structure of the public sector?

Surely this broadside of questions, including all the supplementary questions that go with them, should be enough to convince John Key that he is on a hiding to nowhere with this idiotic idea? Probably not.

I’ll try and update the progress of the circus as it transpires. It’s on now.

24 Comments Posted

  1. Southland Times today –

    What has happened to Eric Roy’s ‘Bluegreen’ branch of the National Party
    that was going to protect our environment?
    Remember them?
    Have they run for cover?
    Perhaps they also hold shares in mining companies, as their leader John
    Key does, and think it best to keep their heads low until public anger
    They are going to have their heads down for a long time.

    Check out Southland Times – Letters to the Editor yesterday, for Cyril Lawless classic anti-green rant!

    (He represents the fishing industry down here – opposes protections for Hector’s dolphins)

  2. Great work Katie, do you have your own blog I could follow. It’s been such a long time when I could read something and know it isn’t spin. Thank you so much!!

  3. Hooten on Radio Live pimping for Solid Energy to mine New Zealand for us ..because they are ‘clean and green’!

    Har bloody har har!

    Hooten, you ass!

  4. Some people (the usual suspects) are claiming there is a hidden agenda behind the moves to open up Conservation land to mining. I don’t buy tales of hidden agendas and secret plans. Stupidity and blinkered ideology are usually perfectly adequate explanations for poor decision-making. Key and co aren’t necessarily trying to reward their mining mates. They just don’t give a shit about the things many others care passionately about – like the environment, conservation and our natural heritage.


  5. It’s a great chance for the Green party to support mining.

    Unless you don’t drive a car, don’t ride in a train, don’t use a computer, don’t have a steel and zinc roof over your head, don’t use power that comes through copper wires, don’t use solar panels, don’t energy efficient light bulbs or any light, or don’t use any appliances or electical devices, THEN, your life probably relies on mining.

    And it’s all well and good to have somebody else do it so WE can say we’re nice and green, when really we are relying on someone else to have a mine in their back yard.

    So here’s a win win solution. The Green Party supports mining that fits certain very high set of agreed criteria, like –
    – has environmental standards that are at or above current world best practise.
    – benefit to NZ is commensurate with the environment of the mine. i.e. no low-benefit mining on high value conservation land.
    – any mining land taken from conservation estate has to have a GREATER AREA of HIGHER VALUE added to the estate.

    Every country in the world mines. We could become known as the world leaders in environmental mining practises.

  6. And investment in electricity generation from renewable resources to preserve our oil and gas and avoid CO2 emissions, and incidentally cut down on our oil imports.


  7. All those still very poor countries that have been mined. Even with tax, the portion of profit is very small for the government. Plus the number of jobs created locally is also quite small, and both things are entirely temporary.

    Enviroment aside, this is stupid economically. What we need is investment in manufacturing, start up businesses, R&D and technology. We are a highly educated country, we should be using that resource to create a future minded economy, not thinking like someone from the 1800’s…

  8. They do have this ongoing difficulty with the English language, Kevin, and sustainability is another tough one for them. I guess something could be sustainable until it isn’t.

  9. It was certainly a day when I would have loved to have more than our 6 supplementary questions! Key and Brownlee continue to play an audacious shell game in which they attempt to deflect attention away from their intentions with diversionary tactics.

    A few items from today’s exchanges:

    John Key always answers questions about mining in Schedule 4 land by talking about the mining occurring in other parts of the conservation estate. The point is that the pact between the mining industry, environmentalists and Government to establish Schedule 4 was a trade-off: mining to be permissible outside Schedule 4, provided that it was entirely ruled out in Schedule 4.

    Gerry Brownlee keeps saying mining won’t occur in National Parks or environmentally sensitive areas. When we say “but the areas you are proposing are exactly these”, the answer is that they will be redefined to not be so on paper. The boundary of Paparoa National Park will be changed to define the bit that is currently in, out. In the House this afternoon he seemed to be suggesting that loss of kiwi habitat on the Coromandel wasn’t a problem, because the kiwis would move (and I guess then, by definition, it won’t be of high ecological value).

    The other one that gets me is the two of them constantly citing the Pike River coal mine and using terms like “surgical”, “keyhole” and “eco-mining”. Well Pike River is interesting. It’s an underground mine underneath a National Park, and its environmental footprint is relatively small (though still substantially larger than suggested by the Government). But this model only works for some minerals and some geologies. It won’t be appropriate in most settings. For example, the land the Government wants to mine in Eastern Paparoa is alluvial river flat. Mining this will require removal of the forest and then digging it all up to separate the Gold from the rest of the soil.

    And at his post-Cabinet press conference yesterday, John Key said he believed this mining would be sustainable (!) Excuse me? I’d have liked to ask him today what his definition is of “sustainability”. Unless he is planning on nuclear fusion or magic to create more of the mineral being mined, than there is nothing less sustainable than the mining he proposes.

    I could go on.

  10. Frog –
    I’m halfway thru the Summary doc; my, how much it looks like the kind of PR usually done to create interest in a speculative investment.

    Anyone heard any whispers about who is likely to be getting the contracts for the investigative work, and which companies are likely to be getting the actual mining contracts?
    Perhaps we should keep an eye on the stock market, and see whose shares have a big ‘buy’ order….

    Someone is wording this to create investment speculation in NZ minerals companies.
    Quick, check who’s on the Boards of Directors…

    Bigger question: why is this report coming out of MED and DoC, with such a telegraphed outcome?

  11. Big Gerry must be feeling the pressure over his mining proposals – he stuffed up big-time today. This has to be the most embarrassing performance by a Leader of the House I can recall. He couldn’t cope and had to leave part way through and leave John Carter in charge.

    Here you go, it’s a long video in 4 parts, but it’s all down to Big Gerry that it happened at all.

  12. Don’t downsize Gerry – i’m lookin for a good wicketkeeper.
    not much’d get by ‘im eh? eh?
    Must be some sort of sly to get a job in Parliament
    or have i ignored the local news that much?

  13. Stand up to Fat Gerry!

    Move swiftly – he’s hampered 🙂 by his enormous bulk and his vision blurred by blubbery lids.

  14. Something’s irritating you Frog …

    Is it the threats to your cuzzies, the rare native frogs of the Coromandel?

    None of us would like to seem them being borne down upon by a John’n’Gerry ‘dozer!

  15. Brownlee uses all the tactics of a Bully: verbal, visual, and through the various Media. I fear he’s probably the best man for the job from National’s point of view, and that’s really depressing. It speaks volumes for National’s overall character and treatment of NZ.

  16. Gerry Brownlee refused to answer Catherine’s question about whether the Otahu Ecological Area is of high conservation value, because of course it is, and that means he mislead the house originally. He avoided that by attacking her personally.

  17. Kate Wilkinson spat tacks at David Parker’s questions, but couldn’t really answer why Gerry is running her portfolio. (at the environment’s expense)

  18. I haven’t watched question time for a few weeks… I think I might tune in to the 10 pm reply tonight…

    I’ve been watching parliament a few years now and can’t remember anymore than 3 questions on the same topic in a question time before…

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