by Gareth Hughes
I’m hitting the road with Catherine Delahunty on the Mining our Future tour. We’ll be travelling New Zealand over the coming weeks setting out the Government’s broad “drill it, mine it” agenda. We are starting with the big centres then will tour the provincial areas most affected by drilling and mining.
Communities and groups are fighting many individual projects, be they lignite coal in Southland, gold mining in the Coromandel, or fracking and deep-sea oil drilling on the East Coast. Cumulatively there is a big risk nationally to our environment and economy from mining our future.
It’s a big debate for New Zealand where the National Government is doing everything it can to promote drilling and mining. From its pro-fossil fuel Energy Strategy, to the Bill on drilling in our Exclusive Economic Zone and financial incentives to drill and mine it’s clear that the Government’s priority is to “drill baby, drill!” If ‘catching up with Australia’ means doing as they do and digging up more ground, we’d do well to look at the recent poll which shows that the majority of Australians believe that they have received little or no benefit from the mining boom.
Mining isn’t the way to build prosperity in New Zealand. These projects will benefit very few people. Deep-sea oil, for example, will bring hardly any jobs for locals, hardly any royalties and hardly any taxes, and the profits will flow offshore; meanwhile a spill would have catastrophic consequences for our environment, local businesses and our valuable clean, green brand.
The Green Party opposes these risky mining and drilling projects. Instead, we support an oil reduction strategy which gives Kiwis better options and promotes better recycling of metals and innovative use of materials like our own laminated wood steel alternative. As we showed in our Green Jobs package, there are plenty of jobs and economic opportunities available to us without looking to the nineteenth century for inspiration.
Auckland – Wednesday 11th April, 7 – 9pm
Lecture Theatre B15, Library Basement, University of Auckland Campus, Auckland
Hamilton – Monday 16th April, 7 – 9pm
Trade Union Centre, 34 Harwood Street, Hamilton
Wellington – Tuesday 17th April, 7 – 8.30pm
Mezzanine Room, Wellington Library, 65 Victoria Street, Wellington
Christchurch – Thursday 19th April, 7 – 9pm
Workers Educational Association, 59 Gloucester Street, Christchurch
Dunedin – Monday 30th April, 7.30 – 9.30pm
Practice Room, Clubs and Societies Building, 84 Albany Street, Dunedin