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Big Gerry Brownlee has Big Plans for Mining in New Zealand

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Contributor:
Dave Griffith
Dave Griffith
The owner of a misguided vision of New Zealands future

The overwhelming public backlash against proposed mining on conservation land has played a major part in the governments decision to can it today.

The Gerry Brownlee sponsored proposal to open up some conservation land to mineral exploration and exploitation including sensitive areas like Great Barrier Island and the Coromandel had looked like they were a done deal. It is understood that a nervous Prime Ministers office and mining companies not wanting to get dragged into political protests tipped the balance in favour of abandonment.

A mass rally of 40,000 people on the streets of Auckland and 37,552 mostly negative submissions have played their part in turning back the right-wing governments agenda on this issue. When politicians have made their mind up on something the only thing that will change their mind is the threat of a backlash at the ballot box.

Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee had long been championing the cause by dangling the carrot before the people of billions of dollars of unexploited minerals that could enrich our nation financially. When it became apparent that most of the wealth extracted would remain in the hands of the off-shore mining companies the majority of people were not prepared to accept the environmental wrecking of some conservation land just so the mineral giants could get richer.

Credit has to be given to the government for doing a u-turn, but they should have seen long before now that the proposal was unacceptable to the majority of New Zealanders.

While the schedule 4 conservation land has been protected for now, it is clear that the wider debate on exploitation v conservation is only just getting under way. Gerry Brownlee might have lost the battle but he has no intention of losing the war. As part of his statement today he made these ominous threats about his future intentions;

“I suspect few New Zealanders knew the country had such considerable mineral potential before we undertook this process, and I get a sense that New Zealanders are now much more aware of that potential and how it might contribute to economic growth.

“As many people have pointed out, around 85 per cent of the country is not protected by Schedule 4, and a great deal of that land has mineral potential.

“New Zealanders have given the minerals sector a clear mandate to go and explore that land, and where appropriate, within the constraints of the resource consent process, utilise its mineral resources for everyone’s benefit,” Brownlee said.

So there you have it. If you opposed the mining of schedule 4 conservation land then have a drink and celebrate the victory in this particulr battle. But stay sober please because if you happen to live in the 85% of non-schedule 4 land that Gerry has now got in his sights, then he will be back with his mates with diggers and he is very pissed off at the latest events. There is a battle looming as long as the environment plays second fiddle to business and things are going to get ugly.

Gerry if you are out there, please put your cream donut down and listen. Our natural environment and outdoor lifestyle is a far more valuable asset to this nation now and in the future than any momentary injection of monetary wealth.

As the world environment increasingly turns to custard thanks in part to your mining mates the value of our environmental assets continues to appreciate. Many people in the world will pay billions of dollars more than you will ever extract from under us to visit us and get a taste of our unique land.

Open your eyes big guy and see the reality of the situation. If it is a fight you want then that is what you are going to get. People will always fight harder when they believe in a cause. They will also fight harder when they are defending their own soil. Your mining agenda ticks the box on both counts mate, see you at the barricades.

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