Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The back of a bloody envelope

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  • Sacha,

    RNZ Nine to Noon - Rod Oram (streaming 18 mins) and earlier piece with various stakeholders - mayors, miners, greenies (streaming 30 mins).

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Who's picking a Ministerial call-in of resource consents on grounds of strategic national importance or whatever it's called?

    Get ready for Holes of National Significance.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Hamish.MacEwan,

    Just a typo among all the good sense, "underwritten" not "unwritten"

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 13 posts Report Reply

  • webweaver,

    If this gets pushed through I can see civil unrest on a scale not seen since the Boks Tour protests of 81.

    My god I hope so. As I said a few weeks ago when this first reared its ugly head, there's not much that would persuade me to leave my nice comfortable life and go chain myself to a bulldozer, but this is it.

    How ironic. National has turned me back into a political activist again - after about 20 years of not-doing-very-much. There's so much shit they've done over the past 18 months that I scarcely know where to begin, but for me it's National Radio (RadioNZ) and National Parks that's pushed me over the edge.

    What is it with National going after anything with "National" in its name - can they not handle the competition or something? And what is it with the sustained attack on Auckland? First the Super City and now mining in their favourite getaways? I don't think so!

    I joined Forest & Bird today - I felt as though I needed to express my support after the govt told DoC they were not to talk to F&B about mining. How outrageous! Gagging people won't help, dudes - it'll only make more people angry...

    Metiria Turei of the Greens has set up a Facebook group - No mining in NZ's National Parks - please join if you've a mind to.

    I know it's a cliche to join a Facebook group in protest, but our experience with the SaveRadioNZ Facebook group is that it can actually get the issue noticed by the media and politicians if enough people join.

    I don't know if it's politicians thinking "web 2.0" is the Next Big Thing that they don't really understand but they think they should take notice of in order to "get down wiv the kidz" or if it's that they understand that for every person joining a group in protest there are 100 standing behind them never quite getting around to doing it - but it does seem to be something that they take note of. If they want numbers, we have to give them numbers!

    The other really useful aspect of being part of an online community like that is that a) you realise you're not alone and that tons of other people think the same way you do and b) you start taking action in meaningful ways as a result of being part of that group - which you probably wouldn't have done otherwise. I wouldn't have created the SaveRadioNZ website (and thereby gotten more involved with the campaign), for example, if I hadn't been part of the Facebook group and gone along to the demo outside Parliament.

    Anyway. The other very useful aspect of the No Mining FB group is that they are giving members help and support in writing a submission to the govt. Schedule 4 stocktake discussion paper. If ever there was a time when we all need to put our thinking caps on and take the time to write, this is it. I'm starting writing mine today.

    Bomber wrote an interesting post on Tumeke! the other day - The truth about the Mining lie - which talks about how the figure of $140 billion was basically pulled out of his ass by mining lobbyist Richard Barker. Interesting. We have Gordon Campbell to thank for that piece of detective work - On the Economics of Mining DOC Land.

    So... you guys who have lived in NZ longer than I (I've only been here 17 years) - do you sense that we'll finally all rise up in outrage about this and actually DO SOMETHING - or will we slip back into our normal laissez-faire "no worries" political apathy once we've had a nice cup of tea and a lie down?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 331 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Holes of National Significance

    Excellent

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • cindy baxter,

    I'm not sure that people understand the toxic side effects of mining - it was briefly touched on in Nine to Noon today.

    Both gold and coal mining produce mountains of toxic waste full of heavy metals - waste that has to be kept away from the environment for decades (very difficult to do). The interweb is full of examples of toxic waste from mining being dumped into precious lakes, rivers, etc. Just reading an EPA document: 72 tonnes of gold produced 103 million tonnes of waste.

    They talk of "just a hole in the side of a mountain" but out of that hole comes terrible stuff - cyanide commonly used in extracting gold, plus mercury, cadmium, and a dozen other highly toxic substances.

    NZ hasn't got a very good record when it comes to dealing with toxic waste.

    The coal industry is similar. Gotta look at the big picture here.

    auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 99 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    webweaver, I'd be amazed if it got to violence in the streets like in '81. If it even got close, the Nats would back down. Which would be a good outcome. I doubt their own voter base is a gimme on this issue. NIMBY might be more powerful and widespread than they realize.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Nothing like kicking the shit out of the down and out to take peoples attention away from the ram raid across the road....

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2210 posts Report Reply

  • Clubfoot .,

    Russell's Great Barrier distraction theory sounds solid.
    Another contention to consider is that Schedule 4 itself is under threat if compromise can't be found and that other 'softeners' such as extraneous crown parcels without conservation merits (e.g. gravel pits) will be thrown into the public arena to desensitise the whole concept.

    Its got to be said that the conservation estate has grown markedly in recent times and the price of fence posts, and general compliance costs post-Cave Creek, make for a large annual bill.

    Its an interesting shake-up, however I think i prefer ice creams at Cathedral Cove and huts full of guided Americans over silted up rivers.

    Cook Strait • Since May 2009 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    From Rod Oram's comments, it sounds like it's not just an ecological issue, but suspiciously also a corporate welfare one too.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5415 posts Report Reply

  • webweaver,

    Ben - yeah I'm thinking the NIMBY vote in Auckland might be quite important - together with the Super City it might just be the final straw. We can only hope...

    That's why I'm quite surprised they started with the Coromandel - digging up parts of the West Coast? No problem! There's only a few hippies living on the West Coast anyway! Who cares about them?! Ha! You wait! IMNSHO the West Coast is the most beautiful place on earth, and they'll have this hippie to contend with if they start something there...

    But the Coromandel's another story altogether - seems either unbelievably dumb as a political strategy, or it's a set-up so that they can back down on it later and then start mining places like the W Coast and Stewart Island (Stewart Island! My God!) while nobody's looking...

    Oh - demo in Welli outside Parliament -

    Don't Mine Paradise National - protest
    Location: Parliament forecourt Wellington NZ
    Time: 12:30PM Tuesday, March 30th

    I'll be there!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 331 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I don't think the 'moral gap' is something to concern ourselves with. We don't owe the world to be mined on account of importing minerals, any more than they owe us milk or lamb.

    The economic argument is stronger, of course. How much will it bring vs how much will it cost, most credibly in terms of tourism. I have to say, I doubt the impact on tourism would be significant.

    But the entire 'do we even want this as a nation?' question is a pretty big one. It can be seen as a wedge issue (which can go either way depending which side of the door you're on). It can be seen as a 'local rights vs the rights of industry' issue. Or just as 'can't we do something better than primary industry for once, ffs' issue.

    That's actually my own feeling on it. There's a huge poverty of vision in the whole idea. This mineral wealth certainly can give us some money in the short term, but that's it. Or it could sit there, accumulating value, and be saved up forever. As minerals become more rare it only becomes more valuable a resource. Is there really an urgent need to extract it now? I don't think so. Building sustainable industry would seem to be a much higher priority.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    More common than you might think, Andre -- and that was the whole point of a bicameral legislature separate from the executive branch. Wasn't it?

    Republican obstructionism predates the Teabagger movement by quite a long while. It was happening even under GWB in 2007 and there are plenty of earlier examples too (though people cared less when the Republicans had the White House, the Senate and the House all at the same time.) Feel free to add an "Of course, Democrats did the same thing" caveat to all this.

    Admittedly, the way that the actual legislative process works you might get representatives from both parties attaching their names to sponsor a given bill, and individual members voting across party lines, but genuinely "bipartisan" activity in American politics (where the leaders of the parties agree on certain issues) is frighteningly rare over the last forty years or so, unless you limit your scope to anything war-related (not including "humanitarian" stuff) or empty assertions of political displeasure at other nations. Indeed, it's been this way even when the general public strongly supports a given piece of legislation.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Nothing like kicking the shit out of the down and out to take peoples attention away from the ram raid across the road....

    Hmmm good point, although in the case of Gt Barrier mining I think this whole thing might actually be partially targeted at drawing attention away from the Supercity. A foolish plan, it could backfire extremely badly, making local politicians extremely popular, and end up undermining the Supercity instead.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Tom - those benefit changes are horrific, snuck in like that. Where are all the jobs for the single mothers of six year olds, and the sickness beneficiaries? What about those people who have several casual part time jobs, or seasonal work, or school support staff who don't have work for the whole year? They will be constantly reapplying for the benefit. And the logistics or annual reapplication will create so much more work for an already stretched Work and Income.

    Meanwhile the assistance to retrain and upskill using the TIA and open entry to tertiary has all gone. Just cruel.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Or just as 'can't we do something better than primary industry for once, ffs' issue.

    My cross-posts from Keith Ng's latest thread:

    #1:
    I'd say that our dear leaders think Kath & Kim is a training manual. The sort of stuff David Harris and Germaine Greer have previously warned about.

    #2:
    Ernie Rutherford will be redlining in his grave. "We've got no money, so we've got to think."

    IIRC wasn't it one of us who likened Australia to a nation of shoe factory-hands who won the lottery?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5415 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Hilary: and when people are antsing about whether they'll still have a job next week, this is increasingly looking like Forbes-Coates 2.0.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5415 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    DeepRed:

    IIRC wasn't it one of us who likened Australia to a nation of shoe factory-hands who won the lottery?

    Not sure, but I recently saw someone describe Australian cities (and suburban Perth in particular) as looking like Hamilton after everyone had won Lotto simultaneously.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • JLM,

    My cross-post - Y'all know about the anti-mining petition active for about another month, don't you? Download it, take it out and get some signatures.

    http://www.greens.org.nz/conservation/mining

    Judy Martin's southern sl… • Since Apr 2007 • 239 posts Report Reply

  • Joshua Drummond,

    I'm aware of the way extraction industries have unwritten the prosperity of our neighbours across the Tasman

    Unwritten, eh? I like it when a typo is also a keen observation.

    Since Nov 2006 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    I'm aware of the way extraction industries have unwritten the prosperity of our neighbours across the Tasman

    The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
    Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
    Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey,

    @ Don

    when resentment of Wellington's intentions towards us is already simmering

    Look, I am quite happy to for Aucklanders to be deprived of the right to vote if it helps make that statement a reality. But until that happy day can I just say that most of the insane ideas politicians have thrown up since MMP have been very representative of the population north of the Bombay Hills.

    The "intentions" are all in your court, Auckland. Sort it out.

    I'm not sure if you are being obtuse or not, but you do realise that there are two meanings for the noun / verb "Wellington"?

    The noun refers to the city itself, and it's delightful denizens, it's plentitude of eating and entertainment places, the wacky and large Te Papa and ( green with envy here ) that fabulous waterfront.

    The verb refers to that dark hole in the middle of your fair city - parliament. Everybody up here refers to it not as 'parliament' or even as 'the government', but as 'Wellington'. Meaning whoever is running the political show now, and encapsulates at this point in time public service mandarins (interestingly, these weren't included in the 'Wellington' meaning under Helen's reign - because Wgton came to Auckland, lots).

    (It should be noted that 'wackiness' is not a perserve of Auckland; take a bow Brownlee, Smith, Dunne, Carter, and others.)

    So deciphering the sentence above to which you take (ironic?) offense, the writer means "... when resentment of [the government and senior public service mandarins] intentions towards us is already simmering..."

    Please correct me if I am entirely wrong as to your offence...

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 659 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    those benefit changes are horrific, snuck in like that.

    Someone needs to tell them that bashing single mums is about as cool these days as legwarmers, backcombed hair and suit jackets with the sleeves pushed up.

    Sooner we get through this 1980's retro shite and on to the '90's, the better.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    I'm not sure if you are being obtuse or not, but you do realise that there are two meanings for the noun / verb "Wellington"?

    (Excellent - I don't know dick about mining or health care, but I can be a grammar pedant with the best of them!)

    Both of those usages of "Wellington" are nouns; it's just that in the second case the word is being used as a metonym for the NZ government.

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    DeepRed - Forbes-Coates 2.0, very clever . Unfortunately, they had a few years of power before Savage, Fraser et al swept in to save NZ. Not before there were some big bloody unemployment riots, though.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

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