Why not mine ours?

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.


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.


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.


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.

2 Responses to Why not mine ours?

  1. gravedodger says:

    Broke with habit and endured TV1 news tonight and got very upset with the coverage of the mine/dont mine item. Mrs GD worried about the plasma.
    Whenever mining was the subject big bulldozers and diggers probably building a new highway somewhere, when the damage/destruction was the subject then we had views of Milford Sound, Great Barrier Island beaches or pristine forest as the background. It could have been an election advert for the green party. Phearless Phil was rabbiting on about the disaster for our image and the destruction of our tourism. Balance Na No Never.
    No mention of the Pyke River mine or any of the other thirty or whatever mines already operating in the Doc Estate.
    Sheesh I am already on BP pills and this absolute rubbish they call NEWS but I call INFOTAINMENT will either kill me or my lovely plasma.
    Is there any chance Fox News could come down here and give us some balance.


  2. david winter says:

    The most vocal opponents of mining might be making a gut reaction but the proponents are hardly doing any better.

    People seem to think mineral extraction is a get rich quick scheme, dig up all that free money were sitting on and the economy will transformed. Actually, even the value of the minerals in the ground isn’t that great. The (dirty) coal in Inganahua might be worth $2b if we extracted it all but you have to get it first and that cost money and requires digging up 8% of a national park. In Parakawai they want to turn schedule 4 land into gravel.

    In fact, I still can’t work out what on earth the government is playing at. They’ve included land that would never pass an RMA (Gt Barrier) and areas that I understand you can’t make ‘surgical’ incisions into (Inganahua is a river bed) while saying you could never get approval for open cast mining. I can’t believe they were so panglossian they thought they could dig their way out of trouble but I don’t know why else they’d pick such a pointless fight.


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