Why not mine ours?

March 23, 2010

While voices are being raised opposing the idea of mining the odd packet-handkerchief sized corner of our vast conservation estate, Busted Blonde speaks softly in favour:

“We are confident and supportive of any attempt to mine in our back yard. Just as long as they sweep up the yard and put out the rubbish when they leave.”

What a pity Colin Espiner hadn’t read that before he wrote the parks are ours not mine.

Yes, we’re sitting on vast wealth. Yes, if we dug it all up we’d be rich. But what would we have lost? Our countryside. Our reputation. And possibly our souls. I know it’s tempting, Gerry, but sorry, you’re just going to have to leave it in the hills. There are other ways to make a dollar. 

What a lot of emotive claptrap. Our countryside, reputation and souls have survived the mining currently going on throughout the country – including on the conservation estate.

Interestingly most of the 39 comments on this post disagree with his view, including:

Typical NZ NIMBYs, we all happily consume the products of mining, we just don’t want any mining here.

and

IF we can do the mining without destroying the countryside and IF the benefits will go to New Zealand as a whole and not a select few or (shudder) overseas companies then it is worth mining.

I think the Government can show that mining is palatable. It is important they demonstrate the money will benefit everyone because most people seem to believe that multinational companies and a lucky few will be the big winners while everybody else loses out.

and

We want all the toys but expect others like sweatshop workers in Asia to pay all the nasty costs. We whinge on about Australia’s luck with minerals but stupidly leave ours locked up. Careful modern mining will bring income we seriously need if we are to maintain our standard of living and social services. Most of us will never ever go to these wilderness areas and neither will that naive tourist we keep prattling on about. In any case, human activity like mining is itself a tourist attraction – look at Coober Pedy and our own West Coast. Let’s proceed with the care the Government has given us the lead on and stop the crazy exaggerations and hype.

and

Colin, you say “It’s a no-brainer really. Mining is unpopular. End-of-bloody-story.” Really? On what basis do you make that assumption? On the basis of the press articles from Environmentalists?

I think you will find if you ask the general public that mining is not as unpopular as you think.

Here’s an analogy: A rich man owns land that contains a well of water. Outside his property are people who are dying of thirst. They ask him for some water. He says “No, because you will dirty my well”. The people die of thirst. Question: is the rich man being cruel, or is he a “good environmentalist”?

Cactus Kate posts on whining about mining:

The only downside to mining is that New Zealand isn’t enough of an economic powerhouse to have it’s own mining company that could be given the contracts to “drill baby drill” or Kiwislaver and the Cullen Fund were large enough to simply gobble a 100% shareholding in an established overseas mining company to do the work so all profits could remain in New Zealand which would end that argument. Anyway cheers to dreaming on that one.

Adolf at No Minister says dig baby dig.

Keeping Stock concludes a post mining the reaction with:

We know that there will be opposition, and we hope that last week’s jury verdict in Wellington doesn’t send a few tree-huggers over the top in their protests, believing that what they do is for the greater good. Right at the moment, we can’t think of ANY greater good than New Zealand’s economic future.

And Kiwiblog writes:

There is a segment of the population (and associated lobby groups) that is opposed to all mining, everywhere. You could apply to mine in the middle of a gorse laden field, and they’ll be against it, regardless of how much mineral wealth may be there.

That is a legitimate view to hold, but there is a cost – NZ has less money for schools, less money for hospitals, and lower incomes overall.

The previous government increased spending which we can’t afford. The current one can and should cut spending. It shouldn’t increase its income by increasing taxes but it could increase government income and economic growth by following through on this proposal to mine little patches of the conservation estate.


Southern Man

March 23, 2010

For Otago & Southland’s Anniversary Day:


Just What I Needed

March 23, 2010

Happy birthday Ric Ocasek, 61 today.


Tuesday’s answers

March 23, 2010

Monday’s questions were:

1. What are you playing if you hear man alive, doctor’s orders, clikety click, two fat ladies and top of the shop?

2. Monrovia is the capital of which country?

3. What is an eponym?

4. Who said: Books were my pass to personal freedom. I learned to read at age three, and soon discovered there was a whole world to conquer that went beyond our farm in Mississippi.

5. Which is New Zealand’s second windiest city?

Inventory 2 got one and a bonus for explaining doctor’s orders.

Deborah got two.

David got three.

PDM got two.

Gravedodger get’s the electronic bunch of flowers for four right – so nearly five because he mentioned Palmerston North.

Rob got three and a bonus for lingusitic reasoning with #4.

Paul got three right. Who’s Larry McMurtry?

I’m writing this on Monday evening and scheduling it for Tuesday afternoon, if anyone answers the quiz after this and before it’s published s/he’ll have to score her/himself.

The answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »


NZ Institute’s report card for NZ

March 23, 2010

The New Zealand Institute is launching a website – nzahead – which will give a comprehensive assessment of the coutnry’s social, economic, and environmental performance.

A media release from the institute says:

nzahead brings together 16 key measures of how we are doing as a country, and then gives an overall mark for ‘Effort’ and ‘Achievement’. It will be launched in Auckland on 31 March.

Dr Rick Boven, Director of the Institute, says that while there might be a light-hearted element to the idea of a whole country receiving a report card like a student, there is a serious side to the project.

“If we’re going to make good choices about our future as a country, we need to have an informed debate about how we’re really doing in the things that really matter. This is one of our most important contributions to informing that debate.”

. . . Dr Boven recognises that choosing what is measured and how performance is assessed can be highly charged decisions.

“Our objective is not to embarrass or upset anyone. We have selected 16 measures which we believe give an accurate Big Picture view of our country’s long-term performance. And we will take the next step of saying what we think about that performance. Whether or not people agree or disagree with our 16 measures or our  assessment, I hope they will feel better able to talk about the issues with their  families, friends and workmates.”

Dr Boven says that selecting the 16 measures was a very challenging process. “We wanted to find the right balance between capturing enough information to make broad judgments about New Zealand’s performance, without capturing so much that we would be drowning in detail. Of course we prefer that the figures are reliable and accurate, and ideally cover a long time period so that we can see trends and spot  onnections. One of the challenges was that there is little information on some measures we think are very important.”

An independent assessment of where we are and how we can improve is a very good idea.

I await the launch with interest.


Mine a little conserve more

March 23, 2010

Ministers of Energy and Resources and Conservation, Gerry Brownlee and Kate Wilkinson are right, it’s time to discuss maximising our mineral potential.

It’s too much to hope that the discussion will be calm and reasoned when the hysteria preceded the announcement.

But those who take the time to read the media release will find that no-one is suggesting digging up vast tracts of the conservation estate.

“Today the government is suggesting allowing potential access, with appropriate environmental mitigation, to a small percentage of that resource,” Mr Brownlee said.

The Government is proposing to remove 7,058 hectares of land from Schedule Four of the Crown Minerals Act, including some areas in the Coromandel Peninsula and the Inangahua sector of Paparoa National Park.

Mr Brownlee said it was important to view the proposal in context.

“7,058 hectares is just 0.2 per cent of Schedule Four land.  Moreover, if that land subsequently saw mining development, only around five per cent of the land might actually be mined – as little as 500 hectares.  This is nothing like the vast tracts of land suggested to date by the environmental lobby.

Five hundred hectares is a tiny amount of land to sacrifice for mining. It’s less than half the area of the farm I live on.

“In fact 500 hectares is smaller than what the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry describes as an average New Zealand sheep and beef farm (550 ha).

“However, it is 500 hectares across a number of potential sites that could have big economic benefit for New Zealand.  Mining in New Zealand is already a $2 billion industry, which contributes to export receipts and government revenue.

“It’s also worth noting that in productivity terms, workers in the mining sector return an average of $360,000 of GDP per worker, nearly six times the national average.”

 The economic gains are obvious and they will bring social benefits because we’ll be able to afford more of what we need to make New Zealand a healthier, better educated and more secure country.

What about the environment?

Any mining will be subject to the resource consent process and the government is proposing to more than compensate for the land which will be mined by adding a greater areas to the conservation estate:

Ms Wilkinson said it should be noted that while the Government was proposing removing 7,058 hectares from the 4.6 million hectares in Schedule Four under the Crown Minerals Act, it was also proposing to add a further 12,400 hectares – a net gain in protected areas of 5,342 hectares.

“The areas being considered for removal are small and any mining on conservation land is subject to strict environmental tests.  It has been made clear that any future mining applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis and conservation and environmental management remain a key consideration. . .

Ms Wilkinson said the Government is also proposing to create a dedicated Conservation Fund based on a portion of future royalties it receives from mining in public conservation areas.  The budget for the fund would be 50 per cent of royalty revenue from minerals (other than petroleum) from public conservation areas, with a minimum of $2 million per annum for the first four years and a maximum of $10 million per annum.

Let’s look at those figures again: The proposal is to remove 7,058 hectares from the 4.8 million hectares in Schedule Four, only a tiny amount of which may be mined, and add a further 12,400 hectares.

That makes economic and environmental sense to me.


March 23 in history

March 23, 2010

On March 23:

1174 Jocelin, abbot of Melrose, was elected bishop of Glasgow.

Jocelin.JPG
 

1568 Peace of Longjumeau ended the Second War of Religion in France. Again Catherine de’ Medici and Charles IX of France make substantial concessions to the Huguenots.

1645 William Kidd, Scottish sailor, was born.

William Kidd.jpg

1708  James Francis Edward Stuart landed at the Firth of Forth.

1775 American Revolutionary War: Patrick Henry delivered his famous speech – “Give me Liberty, or give me Death!” – at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia.

 

1801  Tsar Paul I of Russia was struck with a sword, then strangled, and finally trampled to death in his bedroom at St. Michael’s Castle.

1806  After traveling through the Louisiana Purchase and reaching the Pacific Ocean, explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and their “Corps of Discovery” began their journey home.

 

1821 Battle and fall of city of Kalamata, Greek War of Independence.  

1848 the immigrant ship John Wikcliffe anchored at Port Chalmers carrying the first Scottish settlers for Dunedin, New Zealand.

The John Wickliffe anchors at Port Chalmers

1848 Otago province was founded.

 

1857 Elisha Otis‘s first lift was installed at 488 Broadway New York City.

1862 The First Battle of Kernstown, Virginia, marked the start of Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign.

1868 The University of California was founded.

UC seal.png

1879 War of the Pacific  between Chile and the joint forces of Bolivia and Peru. Chile successfully took over Arica and Tarapacá leaving Bolivia as a landlocked country.

Wotp.en.svg
1889 – The free Woolwich Ferry officially opened in east London.

1889 The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was established by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in Qadian India.

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Flag

1896 The Raines Law was passed by the New York State Legislature, restricting Sunday sale of alcohol to hotels.

1903 The Wright Brothers applied for a patent on their invention of one of the first successful airplanes.

 

1905 Joan Crawford, American actress, was born.

 

1919  Benito Mussolini founded his Fascist political movement.

1921 Donald Campbell, British car and motorboat racer, was born.

 

1929  Sir Roger Bannister, English runner, was born.

1933 The Reichstag passed the Enabling act of 1933, making Adolf Hitler dictator of Germany.

 

1935 Signing of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Philippines.

1939 Hungarian air force attacked the headquarters of Slovak air force in the city of Spišská Nová Ves, killed 13 people and began the Slovak–Hungarian War.

1942 In the Indian Ocean, Japanese forces captured the Andaman Islands.

1949 Ric Ocasek, American musician (The Cars), was born.

 

1956 Pakistan becomes the first Islamic republic in the world. (Republic Day in Pakistan)

1956 José Manuel Barroso, Portuguese politician, president of the European Commission, was born.

1962NS Savannah, the first nuclear-powered cargo-passenger ship, was launched as a showcase for Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace initiative.

NSsavannah-1962.gif

1965  NASA launched Gemini 3, the United States’ first two-man space flight.

Gemini3.JPG

1980  Archbishop Óscar Romero of El Salvador gave his famous speech appealing to men of the El Salvadoran armed forces to stop killing the Salvadorans.

1982 Guatemala’s government, headed by Fernando Romeo Lucas García was overthrown in a military coup by right-wing General Efraín Ríos Montt.

1983 Strategic Defense Initiative: President Ronald Reagan made his initial proposal to develop technology to intercept enemy missiles.

1989 Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann announced cold fusion at the University of Utah.

 

1994 Mexican presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio was assassinated by Mario Aburto Martínez.

 

1994 – Aeroflot Flight 593 crashed in Siberia when the pilot’s fifteen-year old son accidentally disengaged the autopilot, killing all 75 people on board.

1994 – A United States Air Force (USAF) F-16 aircraft collided with a USAF C-130 at Pope Air Force Base and then crashes, killing 24 United States Army soldiers on the ground in the Green Ramp disaster.

1996 Taiwan held its first direct elections and elected Lee Teng-hui as President.

1999 Gunmen assassinated Paraguay’s Vice President Luis María Argaña.

2001 The Russian Mir space station was disposed of, breaking up in the atmosphere before falling into the southern Pacific Ocean.

2003 In Nasiriyah, Iraq, 11 soldiers of the 507th Maintenance Company and 18 U.S. Marines were killed during the first major conflict of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

2005 – A major explosion at the Texas City Refinery killed 15 workeers.

2007 Burnley Tunnel catastrophe in Melbourne.

 

2007 – The Iranian Navy seizes Royal Navy personnel in the waters between Iran and Iraq.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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