A broken promise by National before a Government is even formed

Here’s the National Party’s Minister of Conservation, in response to Green MP Kevin Hague’s question in Parliament a couple of months ago:

Kevin Hague: Does the Minister agree with the resource consent commissioners when they said “it is abundantly clear that large scale mining is poised to invade the entire Denniston Plateau coal reserves which if unchecked, will totally destroy the ecosystems which are present.”, and does she not believe it is essential that the access agreement that is being applied for is publicly notified?

Hon KATE WILKINSON: In relation to the public notification, I can advise that if the department intends to grant the Denniston concession application, then public submissions will be invited, and the public can be heard again should it reach that stage. (my emphasis)

But yesterday, Kate Wilkinson told Forest & Bird the Government will break its promise to give New Zealanders a say, and that a decision on an open-cast coal mine on Denniston Conservation land can go ahead without public consultation.

There’s a chocolate fish for anyone who can authenticate any other instance of the lead Party in a potential Government breaking a pre-election promise before the new Government is even formed.

18 Comments Posted

  1. So what next ?

    More tax cuts for the rich.. another increase in the GST.. sinking the boot into the beneficiaries.. your guess as good as mine !

    One thing for sure.. the top 10% will be smiling all the way to the bank.. Thx for nothing Shon-Key


  2. Thanks @toad, I’ve flicked her a quick request on twitter. Today’s Herald story continues to show the Minister appearing to duck apart from apparently putting forth a disagreement about matters, but the Herald still quotes Forest & Bird spokespeople about the letter instead of showing any evidence that they’ve actually seen the thing.

    Generally I tend to trust F&B and I expect they’re on to something, but I still prefer to make up my mind on my own terms rather than jump on someone else’s bandwagon.

  3. @MikeM 9:30 AM

    It doesn’t bother me Mike, because Forest & Bird would be extremely silly to spin the Minister’s letter as saying something it did not. If that were the case, the Minister would almost certainly have released the letter herself by now to refute Forest and Bird’s claims. Instead, she seems to have gone to ground.

    But if it concerns you, why don’t you contact Nicola Vallance who issued the F&B media release yourself and ask if she will make the full text of the Minister’s letter public. Nicola’s contact details are on this page.

  4. Phil, what I said wasn’t that hard to understand. I’m not “claiming” it’s false or true and I’m not spinning for the government, whatever that means. I’d just like some more objective context than a single press release that’s not from the original source of the statement, but which so far has framed everything I’ve seen about whatever it is that Kate Wilkinson said.

    If Forest and Bird would publish the letter she sent them and the clear details of what they asked her (maybe they already have?), then that’d be great!

  5. “..I find it hard to accept that you do not understand that, and suspect you are deliberately attempting to misdirect the discussion (i.e. trolling)…”




  6. mike..this has been running for two days..

    ..and is damaging to the government..

    ..were forest & bird peddling falsehoods..

    ..(as you seem to claim..)

    ..the govt would have called that way before now..

    ..and..um..!..do you remember all those people who marched up queen st..?

    ..they haven’t gone away..


    ..are you spinning for the govt..?

    ..’cos that march/govt-promise couldn’t have been clearer..

    ..and wilkinson has now broken that promise..

    ..what’s not to know/to see..?

    ..the record is all hanging out there in public..


  7. Has anyone besides Forest & Bird been able to see the actual letter from Kate Wilkinson, and documentation of whatever questions Forest and Bird asked her?

    So far all I’ve seen are Forest and Bird claims that she’s “lied” and “reneged on her promise”, and everything I’ve seen in the media is derived from claims in the Forest and Bird press release. As sceptical as I tend to be about the government’s general attitude in this area, I’d like to see the fuller context of what she wrote.

  8. @photonz1 12:27 PM

    You are still playing silly games. Kevin Hague asked Kate Wilkinson in Parliament if there would be public consultation over the access permit. That was after the resource consents had been granted.

    Wilkinson told Parliament there would be. Now, immediately after the election, she tells Forest & Bird there will not.

    That is the issue – the Minister has been duplicitous.

  9. toad says “Frog has carefully explained that the access permit process is totally separate from the resource consent process ”

    The headline story claims the govt has stopped public consultation meaning the mine “can go ahead without public consultation.”

    To me, when I read something can “can go ahead without public consultation”, I usually presume that means it can “can go ahead without public consultation.”

    Only after questioning did frog admit there’s actually already been full public consultation in the main resource consent, and environment court processes.

    So I stand by my comments. The headline story reads as if there’s been no public cosnultation.

  10. @photonz1 9:50 AM

    I think it is you who are being misleading, and mischievous. Frog has carefully explained that the access permit process is totally separate from the resource consent process (the outcome of which is being appealed in any case), and that different considerations apply to each.

    I find it hard to accept that you do not understand that, and suspect you are deliberately attempting to misdirect the discussion (i.e. trolling).

  11. frog says “… a decision on an open-cast coal mine on Denniston Conservation land can go ahead without public consultation.”

    This is misleading. You fail to mention that the mine ALREADY HAS resource consent and there has ALREADY BEEN full public consultation and submissions.

    (Denniston Plateau was actually New Zealand’s biggest coal mine, with 1500 – 2000 living at the mine, though much of the activity was underground).

  12. photonz1, the answer to your first question is “No”. I think you might be thinking of Stockton, which had similar ecology before coal mining destroyed it.

    Re your second question, there were public submissions on the resource consent process, and some of the submitters including Forest & Bird are appealing the resource consent decision to the Environment Court.

    The resource consent Commissioners Kevin quoted are the same ones who granted the resource consents. They decided that economic considerations tipped the balance in favour of granting the consents, despite their severe reservations about the impact on the ecology of the area. However, the issue of whether the Department of Conservation issues an access permit is a separate process involving different considerations, and DoC is not required to take those economic considerations into account in making its decision on the access permit.

  13. Three questions

    1/ Is the the same area that has already been mined over the last 100 years?

    2/ Was there public submissions for the orginal resource consent process and environment court appeals?

    3/ Are the resource consent commissioners that Kevin quotes the same ones that granted resource consent? (i.e has he taken one small quote with not context)

  14. the first of many I’d reckon – we are about to see how ‘anything goes’ I fear – how much for the ‘House’ then?

    btw;- nice hirsute look Kevin!

  15. I don’t think National is all powerful and the left will just be bullied into submission.

    The Natz might appear to ooze confidence but not much has changed in terms of resistance. Some on the left might be feeling a little demoralized by recent events when by all accounts, National should have lost, but it is just one battle in the war to save our environment.

    You can sign the petition to save the Denniston Plateau from open cast coal mining here.

  16. Any ‘promises’ on the environment in the last 3 years are past.. I would guess the Key-Party will move to the extreme-right & sweep aside everything that isn’t about their economic-first agenda..

    Ive said it already.. “look out.. theres a storm coming” everyone who isn’t ‘under-cover’ will get battered & broused by it ! OH DEAR !!


  17. You may be jumping the gun a bit frog. After all, the decision can be announced without public consultation if it is to decline the application – that wouldn’t break the promise.

    And the chances of this are…


Comments are closed.