We Love It – We Protected It!

We Love It – We Protected It!

Today the Green Party is preparing to celebrate with hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who stood up against the mining of Schedule Four conservation land. The Government has acknowledged the more than 44,000 signatures on a Green Party petition, the 40,000 people who made submissions and the 40,000 people marched in the streets to say “No Mining on Schedule 4”.

We’d like to acknowledge all the fantastic volunteers who worked so hard for this victory. We also want to pay tribute to the coalition of groups we have worked with in the “2 Precious 2 Mine” coalition and all the citizens who told the Government they could not mine National Parks and other sacred places.

The mining industry will still try to find a way to access coal and gold, but they have been sent a strong message from the population. The core values of Tangata Whenua and communities have been expressed. The Government has realised they cannot afford to ignore us on this issue.

All New Zealanders value the natural environment of our country because it is part of our identity. The phrase “future generations” is not empty for us. Our children’s children are entitled to a healthy relationship with the natural world that will support them if we protect it.

Speaking personally, one of the highlights of the campaign was traveling by bus with the Coromandel people to join the Auckland march and seeing the huge range of people filling the whole of Queen Street and speaking with a single voice. As a veteran of the Coromandel campaign in the 80s, it is hugely rewarding to see that people power across the nation can save many of our sacred places.

There are parties being organised around the country tonight. But wherever you are raise your glass to the mountains, the rivers and forests. If they flourish we flourish. And raise your glass to the people who participated in this campaign. It was all worth it!

If you’re in Wellington come on down the the Back Bencher tonight. More details here.

44 Comments Posted

  1. I agree with everybody call for vigilance but the thing about minerals are that they are not everywhere and they are only worth mining when the price of the mineral is high. On the Coromandel the richest gold pickings north of Thames are mainly on Schedule 4 land and we have won a reprieve. We have problems south of Thames because it is outside Schedule 4. Te Tai Tokerau/ Northland is under threat but just isn’t riddled with gold, other minerals may be a different story. This entire country has already been combed for the mineral anomalies that suggest a gold and silver ore body is present (although with old technology but rock formations associated with gold are well explored) . There may well be some pockets in the north we will need to defend. The real problem will be the coal fields and gold on the West Coast, and the deep sea oil and minerals drilling. I am heartened by the resistance of local iwi in the Te Tairawhiti area and concerned by the new exploration licences appearing there. We need to build alliances and share stories and work to extend Schedule 4. It’s not over but yesterday was a good day!

  2. Yes, they are already moving to start looking for minerals in Northland and our local body pollies have jumped right in with $200,000 of ratepayers’ money to help make it happen. No consultation, just an announcement.
    And yes, it is tricky – they are only going to fly a plane over the place and do aerial mapping and that can help with spotting erosion etc etc – the soft sell to make any objections look knee-jerk.

    Because there was no consultation process, we can only object instead of discuss all the issues – not a good process from any perspective. Money is always the main objective with these guys.

  3. Zedd asks:

    I find myself scratching my head at this Govt.s ‘antics’.. which side of the political divide are they supposed to be on ? I wonder if they know !

    The answer is that they are a center-ist party. Much like Labour were in their last years of government. They are not on any side of the political divide.

    The idea of a center-ist party is that you aren’t overtly left or right wing, so you don’t annoy anybody excessively. The goal is to stay in power forever.

    It works too, right up to the point where you go moronic and do stupid things, and then everyone hates you. Ask Helen.

    And that’s why Goff (and frankly, all the minor parties) are wasting their time at the moment, and really just looking really desperate and embarrassing. The current mob are in until they really p*ss the electorate off, and then they’ll be out, ready for the other mob to move in. New faces, same old centerist policies. Hardly necessary to campaign, really.

    There’s precious little of any sort of ‘wing’ in any government we’ve had in years. Perhaps that’s a good thing…? Perhaps its not.

  4. Whilst the announcement is helpful we have to question what the real end game was and is.
    Was mining Schedule 4 the smoke screen as a cover for real intentions elsewhere?
    There are places such as Sams Creek in the Cobb Valley excluded from National Park and schedule 4 which should not be mined.
    Reasons include serious risk of toxic waste leaching from mined and processed rock.
    Aquifers from this area lead to the world famous Te Waikoropupu Springs and also have vents at sea in Golden Bay.

  5. I’m somewhere in the middle on this. I agree with Phil/James/Sam, that this has been a defensive action. I agree with Phil rather than Sam, that the NACTs were doing an Overton window; putting up something horrendous in order to make something possibly-medium-bad look OK.

    I also think that, if there hadn’t been a protest response, they would have gone ahead with their horrendous thing. So protesting, and reassembling the capability to do so, was the right response.

    Whether that capability can now be used to object to the merely-ordinarily-bad thing, I don’t know.

  6. I don’t think we have been ‘played’ – I don’t see National as all that cunning – just bloody minded.

    However, this isn’t a plus for the environmental movement, at best just a grim defensive action while slowly losing ground elsewhere (sorry to sound all militaristic). But we are literally losing ground to mining – at Stockton, Pike River, probably Happy Valley all too soon and I expect to see many other places being added to the list.

    On the ‘strategy and tactics’ side of things (and why am I channeling Clausewitz today?), I’d note that the Auckland demo seemed to be the big turning point of the campaign – I’ve often pointed out that nothing builds a campaign as much as getting thousands of people to march down a street. It’s a morale and energy boost for those involved, or watching, as much as a display of support to rattle your opponents.

    Pretty much every successful public campaign in New Zealand’s history has involved big demonstrations, so it’s a worry that they are often seen as ‘old school’ methods in these times of e-petitions and facebook groups.

  7. “..I don’t agree that ‘we’ have been taken as mugs over this issue…”

    (really..?.. i must still beg to differ…)

    “..But both he(key) and Mr Brownlee made it clear that they now considered the Government had a green light to allow mining on any areas outside schedule 4.

    “As the discussion has progressed, it’s identified very clearly where the industry can go and where it can’t go in the future,” Mr Brownlee said.

    The Government would fund a significant aeromagnetic survey of non-schedule 4 land in the West Coast and in Northland to identify mineral deposits ..

    … with an “expectation” of increased mining…”

    (can you see why i may still ‘differ’/be deeply suspicious..?..)

    as i said before…they are as cunning as shithouse rats…


  8. That’s great!
    Hm.. I care about the nature, but I don’t think I should join any association about it yet. I think, without anything about the association in my name, I can persuade more people naturally.

  9. I don’t agree that ‘we’ have been taken as mugs over this issue.
    Key stated,
    “Notwithstanding the public consultation process, it is my expectation that the Government will act on at least some of these recommendations and make significant changes to Schedule 4. This is because new mining on Crown land has the potential to increase economic growth and create jobs.”
    and has had to do a complete about-face.
    That’s not clever. That’s being whopped.
    There’s no doubt National will exploit the new situation as much as possible, but initially, Key expected to succeed with mining in the parks, changing the boundaries of Schedule Four land.
    He failed. It’s a significant failure and the public, especially those who marched, know that they exerted the pressure that was needed and that they could do it again with other issues.
    National has taken a serve.

  10. where exactly is the ‘victory’ here catherine…?

    they now have open slather/public-approval to tear northland and the west coast apart…


    if that’s a ‘victory’..?

    i think it’s a ‘victory’ for the mining industry/brownlee..

    ..he has delivered for them…big time…


  11. I also have a suspicion we have been played. SOP for NACT. Float something objectionable and then the public are pleased when they wind it back a little. Even better get ACT to float the idea.

  12. As a veteran, I have worked on mining since 198o I know this victory is not the end of the campaign, and that Great Barrier mining at least was always a straw man. But lets give credit to ourselves and the citizens who marched and then get ready to challenge the other hidden agendas. And by the way Metiria and I are working hard on beneficiary rights – she is on the Select Committee fighting the “Future Focus” Bill and I am about to launch a leaflet which supports the human rights of beneficiaries and gives them contacts for advocacy. The Greens will never be a single issue party and we make no claim to owning the mining campaign alone. It was an awesome coalition to be part of and it will continue.Great work everyone. It just got harder for the miners irrespective of the Govt agenda e.g. there is a lot of gold north of the Kopu Hikuai line on the Coromandel and the miners cannot have it!

  13. a hypothetical question..

    what would have happened…

    ..if instead of announcing plans to mine section four…

    ..key/brownlee had outright stated their plans to map/extract anything worth mining…

    ..in northland….and the west coast…?

    would everyone be as ‘happy’ as they now appear to be..?

    ‘cos from here…

    it’s game/set/match for that ‘plan’…


    um..!…do we all know the ‘strawman’ definition/technique…?

    it works..!


    and really…we’ve all been ‘played’…



  14. “..The movement has been reinvigorated after many years and will be keep a close eye on what comes next…”

    gee..!..d’yareckon they might organise to defend the sole-parents/benificiaries..?

    who are about to be ‘mined’…?

    should i hold my breath…?


  15. i’m with james…

    the strawman-mining-proposals…

    watch them go gangbusters now…

    the mining spokesperson could barely conceal his delight/huge grin…

    (hardly one who looked like a victim of people-power…)


  16. If you think the Nats wouldn’t have mined national parks if NZers didn’t speak out loudly, you are stupid. The movement has been reinvigorated after many years and will be keep a close eye on what comes next.

  17. Heh! You guys have been so sucked its beyond funny.The Nats Knew that the con 4 deal was a non starter….thats why they flew it expecting the inevertible luddite response while their real goal was to keep allowing mining in the other areas of con land as this will seem like a “fair” option that deflates the protest baloon to many and the Nats take it to the bank with the mining companies.

    You been played.

  18. It is great that as many people marched and submitted as they have. It’s great that Brownlee and co have backed down on mining in Schedule 4 conservation areas.

    BUT there is a sting in the tail of the Government’s announcement (http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1007/S00295.htm). Its going to be much easier for mines to be approved in the other 60% of the conservation estate not in Schedule 4.

    Scroll down to bullet point 12. ‘What has the government agreed to, and why?’ “Decisions regarding access to land for mineral-related activity are to be made jointly by the landholding minister and the Minister of Energy and Resources.” That is by Kate Wilkinson AND Gerry Brownlee. So pro-mining Gerry gets to jointly decide mining access to conservation land. Gerry as disinterested impartial decision maker?? It’s just gobsmacking.

    Have a look at the decision making matters in Section 61(2) of the Crown Minerals Act 1991 (http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1991/0070/latest/DLM246714.html), that Gerry (and Kate W) will operate under. They are:
    “*(a) The objectives of any Act under which the land is administered; and
    *(b) Any purpose for which the land is held by the Crown; and
    *(c) Any policy statement or management plan of the Crown in relation to the land; and
    *(d) The safeguards against any potential adverse effects of carrying out the proposed programme of work; and
    *(e) Such other matters as the appropriate Minister considers relevant.”

    For a conservation area proposed for mining, considering a) through to e) will involve conservation purposes, not mining purposes. It’s just so wrong for Gerry to have any role.

    Even an allegedly more conservationist Minister twists these matters and approves mines. Here’s an example; back on 12 March 2004 Chris Carter as Minister of Conservation agonised in deciding to approve Pike River Coal’s application
    (http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/conditional+approval+pike+river+coal+mine+proposal) but he still approved it.
    Think how much quicker Gerry and Kate would have approved Pike River Coal Mine’s access. This isn’t good for conservation.

  19. I find myself scratching my head at this Govt.s ‘antics’.. which side of the political divide are they supposed to be on ? I wonder if they know !
    Equally Im in disbelief that the maori party can align themselves with a coalition that not so long ago (under another leader) was talking of scrapping the maori seats & removing their main option for getting into the parliament.. but Im very happy that there is a U turn on this mining issue. Kia-ora Koutou Katoa

  20. dbuckley – are you suggesting that John Key and his National Party ministers have a hidden agenda???
    They might be taking the public (us) for mugs??

  21. I’m still not convinced they listened to anything; I’m not convinced there was any intention to mine schedule four at all.

    And frog – thanks for fixing the tweeting thang; that’s two kudos points in one topic 🙂

  22. It’s ok Robert, I still don’t trust them, my youthful idealism is either dead or nearly so.

  23. When they learn to listen to reason, rather than wait for the rumble of the approaching mob, then I’ll see if I’ve any respect for them.
    Til then, not even.

  24. Well Guys, credibility where credibility is due, national have some of my respect back.
    You have to admit that when a Govt listens it feels good, no?
    If only labour had learned to listen.

  25. Load times should be much improved now. It was caused by that green tweet button in the top right that not many people used, so it will not be missed.

    The facebook widget that replaces will be more popular and doesn’t cause the same problem

  26. Maybe the Nats are getting a sore A, from sitting on the fence too long.. instead of taking their true position on the right ?

    Heres hoping 2011 sees the back of them !

  27. Catherine, it has been suggested to me that the Greens should give Gerry Brownlee a small present in return for his contribution to us winning this debate through his sheer ineptitude in selling the Government’s case.

    Anyone got a spare sack of coal?

  28. dbuckley asks: “what the heck is tweetmeme.com and why is it screwing up frogblog page delivery times…”
    I’m greatly hampered by whateveritis that’s slowing down Frogblog.
    Can it be remedied?

  29. Oftimes I feel that the Green Party and the Maori Party are very close on many issues – close enough to be considered natural allies – what they are doing with National puzzles me(not hard).
    I would like to see the Maori Party make a philosophical stand and stick to it!
    They wander over to whoever is in power, and wind up helping no one – certainly not their constituents – unless they Want to live in a shipping container?

    But this turnaround is a real sign of the times for me – the era of brash cronyism that has been the norm since the days of Muldoon are over!

  30. This is a brilliant outcome to a hard fought campaign and while the Government can be applauded for listening, one can’t help wondering why we had to go through all this angst, worry and stress in the first place. The effort was obviously worth it but many of us are just redirecting our energies to the other battles against draconian employment policy, the shambolic National Standards and the Early Childhood funding cuts.

    Our Invercargill march committee are still dealing with the bills for advertising and march compliance costs and are just about there with some generous donations from a range of organistations and individuals. We have only $300 left to raise and if anyone would still like to assist there is an account you can transfer money to on this Facebook page:

  31. Just followed the link to Kiwiblog, a place I seldom go, and note that:

    a) Frog gave a good poke – Go The Frog

    b) The National supporters appear pretty p*ssed with National

    c) Catching up with Oz isn’t going to happen. Nothing to do with this mining sideshow, of course, more to do with the fundamental nature of how NZ earns its foreign currency.

    and (d) what the heck is tweetmeme.com and why is it screwing up frogblog page delivery times…

  32. Whereas this is clearly good news, one still wonders if there was ever any realistic prospect of the schedule four mining going ahead; perhaps it was all just a sacrificial lamb to keep peoples attention occupied…

    And now, of course, the Government can claim they are a “listening” government…

  33. Three cheers for people of conscience..
    Methinks that Key & Co. are again showing their true colours.. concern for their political survival, regardless of which way they lean.

    “Power to the people !!”

Comments are closed.