Mining protest at Parliament: The first ripple

Yesterday I joined what will undoubtedly be the first in a series of protests against the Government’s plans for mining in Schedule 4 land. Conservative media estimates put the numbers at 500, but I reckon it was closer to 1000.

Metiria’s speech was a rousing call to action, and she contrasted Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson’s outrage over  tourists’ smuggling of geckos and shooting of kereru with her failure to stand up for the habitat of our threatened species in the face of Gerry Brownlee’s bullish determination to mine it.

And while Phil Goff burst our eardrums with his new found outrage, Metiria pointed out that the tireless campaign to protect the iconic Happy Valley from being dug up for coal was stymied at every turn by a Labour Government.

Visual highlights from the day were the young women painted in Avatar blue, the radical cheerleaders, and my favourite placard: ‘Surgical mining, its like Scientific Whaling’. Yep.

Big ups to Nelson man Joni Bridges for kick-starting the whole thing and getting such a diverse and passionate bunch of people together to resoundingly tell the Government, ‘Not Mine, Ours!!!’

This is just the start of a long and fierce campaign. If you haven’t already, check out our submission guide and make your voice heard before submissions close on May 4.

As one of the veterans of the Hauraki/Coromandel campaign, it was really inspiring to see so many people expressing their love of this land and their contempt for short sighted policy.

I know from experience that all that stands between foreign mining companies and our treasured lands is our passion – and it’s people who will stop them!

I look forward to seeing you and your families on the protest lines – let’s show the Nats we mean it when we say NO MINING IN NATIONAL PARKS!

9 Comments Posted

  1. No, Kokako has hit the nail first go National parks should be off limits to any kind of mining, IN PERPETUITY. No compromise!!!

    Otherwise what is the point of having a National Park? By definition?

  2. I think the case by case argument is extremely problematic and consigns communities like the Coromandel to 15 years (again) of court cases and civil disobedience valley by valley, mountain by mountain. The mining industry builds up a suite of licence applications and then we have to fight on many fronts similtaneously. Thats why we created Schedule 4 so we could create certainty for all parties about areas that should never be mined. As someone who monitors gold and silver products in my life I don’t buy the argument that because we want to protect the fragile and precious places and are committed to sustainability we are being hypocrites. Mining for gold and silver is not like aggregate mining for road metals, there are long term toxic off site impacts which I could talk about for hours but just google Newmont Gold pollution and you can read all about the company who is digging up Waihi and damaging Peru, Ghana and Indonesia.

  3. Let’s all mine someone elses country – not ours.

    Then we can all use a computer, watch tv, have a corrugated roof, have a fridge, use solar panels, drive a car etc – we can make someone else screw up their environment – then we can FALSELY claim we’re clean and green here – mining or no mining.

  4. Oliver – those are great criteria for mining on marginal land, be it marginal crown land as allowed now or marginal private land BUT NOT for high ecological value land under Schedule 4 that we thought had absolute protection.

    As Valis says, we fought that battle and won absolute protection for that precious conservation land. That’s the way it should remain. Let the miners explore minerals in marginal land.

  5. Oliver. I’m not sure many of us would agree with your ideas around ‘compromise’ for a number of reasons:

    1. It is premised on the view that economic growth is good. A large and growing proportion of the world are now convinced that economic growth is not a meaningful indicator of progress. On the contrary it’s unfettered reign as an indicator of success is bringing the planet to its knees.
    2. Sufficient jobs and investment for the region. A recent article by Bryan Gould on this particular point raised concerns that all such activity as mining introduces is a diversion of resources from one productive activity to another – eg tourism resources would be diverted to mining – it doesn’t really CREATE jobs and investment.

    I think one of the key points of concern about this whole issue is that it makes a mockery of such legislative provisions as schedule 4. If any subsequent administration can reverse what had been a bipartisan agreement to provide some certainty of protection over key environmental assets, why bother with the legislation in the first place.

    Sorry but I don’t think a compromise on this is the way to go.

  6. There was a diplomatic solution 13 years ago that all parties signed onto – schedule 4. We shouldn’t have to do it all again.

  7. How about instead of fighting the concept of mining we take the pragmatic middle road option. Which is to create a strategic framework of tests that can be applied individual mine sites.
    The criteria could be..

    1) Ensure long term environmental damage is substantially mitigated for a particular site.
    2) Ensure there is sufficient jobs and investment created for that region.
    3) Ensure that a substantial chunk of the profits stay in NZ and contribute to our economic growth as a nation.
    4) Ensure that the big picture is looked at in terms of international pressures.

    This way we can have a very strict look at each test case, quite possibly not allowing any permits, but have the upside of the benefits received if a mine does fit that criteria.

    A diplomatic solution that all could agree to?

  8. If ever there was an archetypical unsustainable business, it would have to be the mining industry !

    Open cast mining or so-called “surgical” mining, its all the same. “Surgical mining” might sound better but it will have the same range of impacts – a huge (tailings) mess, water pollution, and increased risk of erosion and flooding.

    So much for Key’s rhetoric about “balancing the environment and the economy” !?

    If high biodiversity conservation land like our National Parks can be removed from protection under Schedule 4, what is the point of Schedule 4 ? What is a National Park when at the govt’s whim, any part of it can be turned into a mine ? And do we really believe that this govt will take any notice of the results of its “community consultation” beyond doing the maths on whether the electoral risk is worth it ?

    Mind you if the govt keeps on like this, and with other anti-democratic moves like replacing the ECAN board with Commissioner(s), then they will surely be driving support away from their cause !? Let’s make sure voters know where to go for democracy and a sustainable business future !

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