Love it, Don’t mine it

This week saw the 40th anniversary of the first Earth Day. There have been events marking the occasion all around the country, many sponsored by the Green Party. These culminate today with events in Auckland, Thames, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin. Our Green MPs will be there and invite you to join them in sending a message to John Key and his Ministers that we don’t want to see more mining in our parks.

The government is intent on tearing up Schedule 4, which protects our most important conservation lands from mining. This is National’s own cross-party agreement negotiated in the 1990’s covering just 13% of the country. But at a time when our clean, green image is increasingly looking shaky and the reality of climate change demands action, the government’s response is instead to dig up our parks to harvest even the coal that lies beneath.

It is not too late to prevent this from happening. The Prime Minister says he wants feedback from the public. Many Kiwis have already said enough is enough – don’t mine any more of our parks!  But the pressure needs to be kept high before final decisions are made.

You can show how you feel by attending one of our Earth Day events today. Details can be found here.  Afterward, or if you can’t make it to a public event, please make a submission on the discussion document released by the Ministry of Economic Development. Links to all the info you need to do this are here. The deadline is 4 May.

Show that you want to save our treasured places!  We really hope to see you today!

5 Comments Posted

  1. Kevin – I especially like this:

    “Every awesome environmental and conservation achievement of this country – Manapouri, native forest protection, nuclear free status, the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary – has been achieved by crowds of ordinary people, just like we are today.”

    and this:

    “We should have no faith that submissions and rational argument will be enough. When the submissions close, we won’t stop.”

    The whole Nelson event is very encouraging to those of us living elsewhere.

  2. For those who are interested, here’s my speech from the Nelon rally. As delivered I changed it to acknowledge Nick Smith’s last minute appearance. Next time though, I’d like him to speak first to give me a chance torespond to the inaccurate and misleading information he continues to peddle!

    “Whether it was saving Manapouri, protecting our native forests from logging, or campaigning to clean up rivers for ourselves and for our kids, the Green Party of Aotearoa, and our predecessor, the NZ Values Party, has always been involved at every level.

    It was Green MP Catherine Delahunty disrupting the drilling sites and blocking the roads on the Coromandel that stopped them there last time; the person who ensured that there would be a requirement to consult the public if Government proposed removing land from Schedule 4 was Green MP Jeanette Fitzsimons. Without that requirement, we would not have the opportunity to make submissions right now. And on Thursday this week the Member’s Bill from Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei was drawn, meaning that Parliament will have to debate our proposal that no land can be removed from schedule 4 without an Act of Parliament. When the environment needs protection, the Green Party will be there.

    Government has tried to pretend that New Zealanders are hypocrites if we want modern technology but oppose John Key’s mining plans. But I say New Zealanders like you, who say it’s possible to have the mining we need without desecrating our most precious places are not hypocrites. You are smart. You are heroes. And you are fabulously good-looking.

    Remember that Schedule 4 was the compromise deal between conservationists, the mining industry and the Government, where everybody agreed that the most precious conservation land would be fully protected from mining in Schedule 4, provided that mining could be considered everywhere else. By seeking to go back on their word and undo that pact, this Government re-opens the door to conflict again between miners and conservationists everywhere.

    I say shame on the Government for going back on Nick Smith’s 1997 words, shame on the Government for choosing to insult New Zealanders who care about conservation, and shame on the Government for not having the courage to come and face you today.

    John Key, in his speech to open parliament this year talked about the environment only as a set of resources to be “unlocked”, and exploited for maximum short-term profit. His Government has declared war on the natural world, and it calls on us now to come to its aid. For all those of us who understand our own reliance on the natural world, or who believe in the inherent value of these places or love them because it’s where we go to enjoy ourselves. For all those of us who want these same opportunities and assets to be available for our children, and our children’s children, the time is now.

    We are the people who will stop this. The Government has made a massive miscalculation, totally failing to grasp the depth of our love for these treasured places. Every awesome environmental and conservation achievement of this country – Manapouri, native forest protection, nuclear free status, the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary – has been achieved by crowds of ordinary people, just like we are today.

    The time has again come for us to fight to defend our environment. Make sure you sign the petition and the submissions today, but remember that today is just the beginning. We should have no faith that submissions and rational argument will be enough. When the submissions close, we won’t stop. We will continue to build our movement, and build pressure on the Government to back down until they can resist it no longer. People power can stop this travesty, and, through our own efforts, people power will stop this travesty.”

  3. Thought I’d just make some comments about the Nelson march/rally yesterday. Great local organisation saw a great crowd – counted at 700 as people were gathering at the beginning, but I reckon closer to 2,000 by the end. It was great to see people learning or rediscovering the skills and knowledge involved in a successful demonstration.

    People had a placard/banner painting session earlier in the week, so it was a colourful group that made its way up Trafalgar Street. I saw lots of people involved in conservation and environment groups, recreational users like mountain bikers (who made a point of organising for the event) fish and game folk, trampers, young families with kids, old people, people with disabilities etc. At the end, during the speeches, I was able to get a better look at the crowd from the stage and can confirm that I saw a number of people who I know voted National last time. Never again, I’d guess.

    Nick Smith saw them too, and it would have given him pause for thought – meant he couldn’t just dismiss the group as Green voters anyway. Right up until the day he said he was too busy to speak, but on the day announced that he had been able to fit the event in after all. He got credit for showing up, but the ‘crowdometer’ indicated people were unimpressed by his attempts to pretend his 1997 words somehow didn’t apply, and I think a lot of people were a bit creeped out by his using his (maybe 7 year old) son to distribute documents to the hostile crowd.

    The real applause was reserved for Debs Martin, Forest and Bird’s regional organiser, the drama group from year 10 at Nayland College (who put on a fantastic performance), actors who reminded the crowd of Nick Smith’s 1997 speech and Gerry Brownlee’s repudiation of it. Maryan Street and I both made speeches too, and a very large number of people signed our petition, and made submissions – in fact the volunteers on the stall ran out of the forms and struggled to keep up with demand.

    There will be even more next time. And there will be a next time.

  4. Three concepts – access roads, processing plants and tailings dams. All needed for mining, surgical or otherwise. All take more room than the access portal. All take longer to disappear, too.
    Surgical mining is a prelude to open cast. Prove the lode is there with an underground mine. Wait until the political environment is suitable, then threaten to pull out (job losses, ghost towns, reduced foreign investment etc.) unless an open cast permit is given. Might take ten or fifteen years or more, but that’s okay. Example at -37.601176S, 175.075808E.

    Armchair Critic (Form The Standard)

    24 April 2010 at 9:56 pm

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