Rural round-up

28/08/2020

Wool boom from footrot research – Sally Rae:

The development of a commercialised breeding value for footrot resistance represents a “huge opportunity” for the expansion of fine wool sheep production, the New Zealand Merino Company says.

While “not a silver bullet” against the disease which results in lameness and loss of production, it would allow growers to make genetic gains and establish flocks that were footrot resistant, NZM chief executive John Brakenridge said.

Growers would save money from reduced treatment costs and chemical inputs, would not be hit with lower production, all while improving animal welfare.

It was the result of work by the New Zealand Sheep Transformation Project, co-funded by NZM and the Ministry for Primary Industries with a contribution from Merino Inc, to look at ways to contribute to a more productive, profitable and high animal welfare future for fine wool. . . 

From Devine intervention to total faith, highland calf birth adds new blood to line – Laurel Ketel:

Two years ago, Devine, a highland cow living at Plum Tree farm in Glenhope, couldn’t walk.

She had fallen down a bank and with her leg caught in wire fencing, the circulation to her foot was cut off causing severe damage. The rehabilitation costs were huge but owners Lisa and Mal Grennell were determined she wouldn’t be put down.

They worked around the clock for weeks, hoisting her every few hours and after four weeks she was finally able to walk unaided but it took a further six months for her to recover fully.

Last week Devine gave birth to a healthy calf and with the birth came not only new life but the introduction of a new bloodline into New Zealand highland cattle. . . 

Beef + Lamb NZ joins call for new national nutrition surveys:

As World Iron Awareness Week kicks off today, Beef + Lamb New Zealand are joining the growing number of calls for the government to conduct new national nutrition surveys, with the most recent in 2008 for adults, and 2002 for children. 

Iron deficiency is the world’s most prevalent nutrient deficiency with two billion sufferers globally. It greatly impacts young children and women, with symptoms often being mistaken for the impacts of a busy life (tiredness, feeling grumpy, lack of focus). This hidden hunger is impacting a growing number of Kiwis, but the true scale is virtually impossible to quantify.  

Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Head of Nutrition Fiona Windle points out that such a large data gap leaves a lot to be desired when trying to tackle the impacts of low iron levels among other nutrient deficiencies.  . .  

Prospectors out in force as gold prices reach fever pitch – Tracy Neal:

Since retiring last year as the Grey District’s long-serving mayor, Tony Kokshoorn says he has been good as gold – he just wishes he had joined the recent rush on prospecting for it.

“I generally nowadays invest in sharemarkets and that type of thing, but I wish now I’d taken up the gold-panning and gone out there because it’s a far better payer at the moment, with the gold price going through the roof and the share price of most companies really in the doldrums.”

Record high gold prices have prompted hobby prospectors to dust off spades and pans and head to South Island rivers in the hope of striking it lucky.

The precious metal recently hit $NZ3000 an ounce, as global investors looked to safer bets in shaky economic times. . . 

Comvita posts reduced annual loss :

The honey manufacturer and exporter Comvita has posted a reduced annual loss as it restructures and looks to capitalise on a lift in sales.

The company’s loss for the year ended June was $9.7 million, most of it caused by restructuring costs, compared with a loss of $27.7m a year ago, which had writedowns in asset values.

However, a second half year revival, as Comvita moved to slim and simplify its business and increase margins, resulted in a profit but not enough to overturn a first half loss. . . 

Validation of agriculture as an essential and sustainable industry – Roberto A. Peiretti:

Did you know that our most basic foods could be totally consumed around the world in just a few months?

This is why governments everywhere have labeled agriculture an “essential” activity during the Covid-19 crisis.

It was gratifying to see this appreciation during the social and economic lockdowns because farmers are often overlooked or even abused.

I hope the awareness of what farmers do continues after we recover from the pandemic.

Over the last several months, we’ve learned to live without a lot of the things that we once took for granted, such as sports, dining in restaurants, and going to church. The rules have varied from country to country, but we’ve all learned to cope with new restrictions so that we can prevent the transmission of a dangerous disease. . . 


Who’s putting jobs and people first?

20/06/2014

The government is to introduce special legislation to enable the recovery of high value native timber blown over in Cyclone Ita on West Coast public conservation land, Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith has announced.

“We need to take a pragmatic approach and enable the timber to be recovered where it can be done so safely and with minimal environmental impact. This initiative will provide welcome jobs and economic opportunities for the West Coast at a difficult time, and will provide a financial return to DOC that can be reinvested in conservation work,” Dr Smith says.

Cyclone Ita hit the West Coast on 17 April this year and caused the worst windfall damage in generations, felling an estimated 20,000 hectares of forest and causing significant damage to a further 200,000 hectares.

The West Coast Windblown Timber (Conservation Lands) Bill confines the recovery of useable wood to areas affected by Cyclone Ita and specifically excludes World Heritage Areas, national parks, ecological areas and the white heron sanctuary reserve at Whataroa. Authorisations are only to be issued where the Department’s Director-General is satisfied the proposed method of removing the timber is safe for workers and the public, and minimises environmental impacts. The recovery of timber is limited until 1 July 2019 when the Bill expires. All revenue from royalties will go to the Department of Conservation.

“A law change is needed because the current Conservation Act makes no provision for timber recovery in this sort of extreme event. The Bill will be introduced and passed by Parliament next week under urgency. This is necessary because the large volumes of beech timber will soon deteriorate with sap stain and borer. I am grateful for the common sense support from the United Future and Māori Parties that are enabling Parliament to quickly resolve this issue.

“It is estimated that several million cubic metres of beech, rimu, matai, totara and miro trees have been felled. Stumpage prices for rimu are $250 per cubic metre, and $60 per cubic metre for beech. It is not possible to estimate the volume and value of timber to be extracted because the safety and environmental constraints may require high cost options like the use of helicopters. This law change will enable the detailed work to be done by operators on recovery proposals so as to determine where recovery is viable and safe.

“It may be appropriate to consider a permanent change to the Conservation Act to enable windblown timber in these sorts of situations to be recovered in future, but I am reluctant to do so with urgent legislation of this sort. The Department of Conservation will be commissioning research on the effects on forest regrowth and ecology by comparing similar windblown areas where timber has and has not been recovered to help make a long-term policy decision on this issue.

“It is a tragedy that so much forest has been wrecked by Cyclone Ita but no good purpose is served by leaving it all to rot. The wood will displace some of the $65 million of tropical hardwoods we import each year and give New Zealanders access to our own beautiful native timbers,” Dr Smith concluded.

The move has the support of the Maori Party:

The Māori Party is thrilled that urgent legislation is to be passed by Parliament to allow for the recovery of native timber that has fallen onto West Coast public conservation land as a result of Cyclone Ita. Co-Leader Te Ururoa Flavell joined Dr Nick Smith on the West Coast today to make the special announcement.

“We see this as a great opportunity for the West Coast at a time where the community has had to bear the brunt of the storm. This legislation will open up long-term employment and commercial opportunities for the community and I am proud to be part of today’s announcement,” says Te Ururoa Flavell.

“The Māori Party support this initiative because we see it as a way for the West Coast to take a silver lining from the storm that hit their community on April 17 this year and caused the most devastating windfall damage in decades.”

“Had we not supported the legislation, the timber would have deteriorated and lost its commercial value. In particular, beech sapwood must be recovered within a month before sap stain fungi and beech borer begin to destroy the value of the timber, which is why there is a need for urgency. The felled rimu can be recoverable for up to five years, providing opportunities for long-term employment,” says Te Ururoa Flavell.

“Of course, the safety of the workers will be of paramount importance and authorisations to remove timber will require that the operators provide health and safety plans to show their removal methods would be safe for both the workers and the public. The legislation also provides for public exclusion from areas while timber recovery operations are taking place for their own protection.”

“Ngāi Tahu has expressed their support in principle for the opportunities presented by the legislation and we will support their preference for opportunities for the harvesting of the wind-blown timber and its proceeds to be reinvested into the West Coast community. We will also seek to ensure that the recovery is undertaken in a manner that respects and addresses any environmental and cultural matters of concern that the iwi may have.”

“While we are sad to see that so much native timber has been blown over by Cyclone Ita, we are delighted that Ngāi Tahu and the rest of the West Coast community will benefit from the passing of this legislation,” says Te Ururoa Flavell.

United Future leader Peter Dunne says the timber recovery is the logical response:

. . . “It is very unfortunate so many trees were blown down in this storm but there is just no benefit in leaving the timber to rot” said Mr Dunne.

Parliament will consider urgent, special legislation to enable the recovery of the high value native timber.

UnitedFuture will support The West Coast Windblown Timber (Conservation Lands) Bill which confines the recovery of useable wood to areas affected by Cyclone Ita and specifically excludes World Heritage Areas, National Parks, Ecological Areas and the White Heron colony.

“This timber recovery plan is the common sense, practical, and logical response to a natural process.

“I am satisfied by the environmental protections and health and safety regulations to which operators will be subject when the timber is removed.

“This will ensure that the West Coast’s unique environment will be protected” said Mr Dunne.

“New Zealand’s hardwood is some of the most beautiful in the world and I am pleased Parliament will enable New Zealanders to access it rather than leaving it to rot” he said.

Former Former Westland Mayor and now National Party candidate Maureen Pugh approached the Minister and asked that permission be given for logging:

. . . “It just seems like a very practical solution to an event that’s happened,” says Ms Pugh.

She says the logs, which are a mixture of rimu, totara and beech, could be worth up to $50,000 each. . . .

The proposal’s being welcomed on the coast – Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn says it makes sense as it has the potential to create money. . . .

this is a very good example of a candidate being proactive for the people who’s support she’s seeking.

Contrast that with the Green Party which doesn’t attempt to win electorates and therefore doesn’t have to worry what’s best for the people in them:

 . . . the Greens say it would require a law change and they’d never support it.

“Generations of New Zealanders campaigned to protect West Coast forests – allowing trees to be taken from timber would completely cut across that,” says Green Party conservation spokesperson Eugenie Sage. . . .

Nature dealt the trees the killing blow.

If they are left where they are they’ll rot.

There is a small window of opportunity to recover the fallen trees which will provide work and replace imported timber.

It will be done with safeguards for workers and the environment and all profits will go to the Department of Conservation to fund more conservation work.

But once more the Green Party will put politics and its own blinkered ideology before people and jobs.


Rural round-up

28/03/2014

Dairy factories spending up – Alan Wood & Cecile Meier:

South Island dairy processors are upsizing with nearly $135 million of extra factory investment to chase a growing milk powder export market.

Synlait Milk yesterday committed an extra $32m to help expand milk drying capacity at its Dunsandel plant.

Competitor Westland Milk Products said it would invest $102m on a new nutritionals-infant formula dryer in Hokitika.

Both companies have undergone rapid growth, though yesterday NZX-listed Synlait Milk said issues remained with the Chinese infant formula market. . . .

Westland dairy expansion welcomed by most – Cecile Meier:

Despite a few reservations, Hokitika’s community supports Westland Milk Products’ plans to expand its dairy factory with a $102 million new nutritional milk dryer.

The Westland District Council held a hearing this week on the company’s resource consent application to build the new spray dryer.

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said the move would bring excellent employment prospects for the region.

Hundreds of farmer suppliers to Westland Milk would also benefit from the added value the new facility could bring to their milk.

“Dairy farming is going from strength to strength. It’s a very good move for the West Coast.” . . .

 

Big dry is being monitored closely – James Houghton:

Many of you are wondering why the Government has not declared a drought in Waikato and Northland areas.  Whilst, they do not actually declare a drought as such, when appropriate, the Government can declare the impact of a drought as an adverse event under its Primary Sector Recovery Policy, and provide recovery assistance. For this to happen, basically you and the community have got to not be coping. The declaration of an adverse event is not about the event itself, but rather the impact of the event.

It is important for you as a community to understand this and take stock of how bad the situation really is, and what value a declaration will actually bring. There would not be a lot of financial support for those struggling unless they are at the point where they are struggling to or can’t meet their living costs. The declaration would provide some funding for the Rural Support Trusts; however, on this particular occasion they have made themselves available for contact regardless.

I can assure you the Ministry for Primary Industries has been monitoring the conditions over the last few months by keeping close contact with Federated Farmers and other stakeholders to understand if farmers are coping. They are not in any doubt that a drought does exist, and they are monitoring the situation closely. . . .

Rare native fish found on farm:

A farm restoration project has led to a fishy discovery for Rory Foley.

Foley has a deer farm in the Hook catchment, near Waimate in South Canterbury.

He has spent the past few years improving parts of the catchment that were previously degraded.

However, the efforts have also led to an unlikely spin-off effect, which was only discovered in the past couple of months: the area is now home to rare mudfish. . .

 Synlait Milk shares punished for over-optimistic forecasts, Chinese regulatory speed bumps – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – Investors punished Synlait Milk shares after the dairy processor was forced to wind back the bullish profit forecast it gave in January because of disruptions from increased Chinese regulations on infant formula and unfavourable foreign exchange movements.

The stock dropped 7.3 percent to a three-week low of $3.70, trimming their gains from last year’s initial public offering to 68 percent. The full-year profit forecast was cut to a range of $25 million to $30 million, down from the $30 million-to-$35 million estimate given in January, Synlait said today.

“In January we under-estimated the full impact,” managing director John Penno told BusinessDesk. “The Chinese regulations had been signalled for some time but what’s become apparent since December is how fast they are going to move.” . . .

Farm Days’ a marketing and educational success:

Federated Farmers Farm Days are a huge success in education and tourism. The Federation’s Bay of Plenty province saw 980 people come through the farm gate on Sunday to see what farming is all about.

“Our Farm Day is a great way for everyone to get involved in the region’s rural community. This year was a particular success with 60 percent of the visitors having either never been on farm or to a Farm Day before,” said Rick Powdrell, Federated Farmers Bay of Plenty provincial president.

“It is an opportunity to get urban people out, especially the children, to learn where their food comes from. Regardless of what age the visitors were they said they all learnt something. . .

Iconic North Island farm sells:

One of the most highly valued sheep and beef properties in New Zealand has been sold. The 4,839 hectare Mangaohane Station located just off the Taihape to Napier Highway between the Rangitikei River and the Ruahine Forest Park.

It has been sold by the family of previous owner, the late Jim Bull. Jim was known as ‘The Potato King”, and bought Mangaohane at auction in 1973 for what was then a record price.

During the last 40 years, the property has been dramatically transformed – with 1500 hectares of scrub cleared, and a further 1200 hectares of tussock developed into top quality high producing pasture. . . .

 


Feds president contender for communicator of year

17/10/2013

Federated Farmers National President, Bruce Wills, has been selected as a finalist for Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ) Communicator of the Year.  

The award recognises skills in a leader who promotes open and honest communications within their organisation.

“It is great that Bruce has been selected as a finalist. Bruce has remained a balanced and clear communicator on issues relating to agriculture,” says Conor English, Federated Farmers Chief Executive.

“It goes to show just how highly regarded he is when you look at the other finalists – Sir John Kirwan, Blues Coach and ambassador for depression.org.nz, Otorohanga Mayor Dale Williams, and Tony Kokshoorn, Grey District Mayor, who are all leaders in their own right.

“Bruce has tirelessly advocated on behalf of New Zealand farmers, and his communication has enhanced a better understanding of farming and its value. Its great to have this recognised” concluded Mr English.

The recipient will be announced on Friday November 8 at a PRINZ event in Wellington. 

The reputations of Federated Farmers and farming have improved in the last couple of years.

Under the leadership of Bruce and Conor communication has been clear and positive lacked the defensiveness and negativity which characterised the organisation a few years ago.

They are both very good advocates for the organisation, farming  and rural New Zealand because of that.

It’s pleasing that two of the other three contenders, Dale Williams and Tony Kokshoorn, are from provincial New Zealand too.

We can’t compete on quantity with urban New Zealand so it’s even more important to have quality.


And the mayor is . . .

12/10/2013

Lianne Dalziel has been confirmed as mayor of Christchurch with 70% of the vote.

Long-serving Labour MP Lianne Dalziel has a new job as mayor of Christchurch after securing around 50,000 votes more than her nearest rival.

In what many regarded as a foregone conclusion Dalziel convincingly won Christchurch’s mayoraty race with around 70,000 votes, preliminary results show.

Her closest rival, Christchurch businessman Paul Lonsdale, got around 22,000 votes. . .

Early results show that Auckland mayor Len Brown will be returned.

. . . A spokesman from Auckland Council confirmed the “progress result” had counted 148,944 votes in favour of Mr Brown.

His closest competitor, John Palino, had earned 98,930 votes. . . .

I will update this post as results come in and welcome your updates in the comments.

UPDATE:

Former Northland  MP John Carter has won the Far North mayoralty from Wayne Brown.

Mr Carter resigned as New Zealand High Commissioner to the Cook Islands in July to return to his home in the Far North and contest the mayoralty.

Defeated mayor Wayne Brown, who has served two terms, said he had phoned Mr Carter to offer his congratulations. He said he was sure the former MP would do his best for the Far North – and he is only a phone call away if the new mayor wants any support. . .

Former councillor Sheryl Mai is the new Whanagrai mayor.

. . . Ms Mai won 4897 votes in the preliminary count, more than 1100 ahead of her nearest rival, councillor Greg Martin. . .

Hamilton mayor Julie Hardaker has won a second term, beating her nearest rival, Ewan Wilson, by 2770 votes.

Napier has a new mayor – Bill Dalton who gained  more than double the votes of this nearest rival, Roy Sye.

Rachel Reese has made history by becoming Nelson’s first woman mayor, taking the mayoralty by almost 1500 votes from Aldo Miccio.

3pm:

Gary Kircher has won the Waitaki District mayoralty. His biggest rival Jim Hopkins also stood for the council and topped the poll in the Oamaru ward.

Tim Shadbolt has been returned as mayor of Invercargill.

With six terms as mayor, and two previous terms in control at Waitemata City, Shadbolt is the longest-serving mayor in office in the country.. . .

Farmer Mike Havill is the new mayor of the Westland district.

Richard Kempthorne has been returned for a third term as Tasman District Mayor.

Brendan Duffy has won the mayoral race in Horowhenua.

Ross Paterson is Mayor of the Western Bay of Plenty again.

Radio NZ reports:

Matamata-Piako District new mayor is Jan Barnes.

Mayor of South Waikato District Neil Sinclair has been returned to office.

Max Baxter is the new Mayor of Otorohanga District.

Brian Hanna is back as mayor of Waitomo District Council.

Jim Mylchreest replaces Alan Livingston who retired after many years as mayor of Waipa District Council.

Mayor of Hauraki District John Tregidga has been returned for a fourth term.

In Rotorua, former MP Steve Chadwick will take over from three-term mayor Kevin Winters with more than 98 percent of votes counted.

Queenstown Lakes District incumbent Vanessa van Uden has been re-elected as mayor, beating hopeful Al Angus, of Glenorchy, by more than 4500 votes.

Central Otago mayor Tony Lepper has been re-elected.

It was a two-horse race for Central Otago’s mayoralty, and preliminary results show Mr Lepper garnered 4416 votes, while Lynley Claridge drew 2521.

The Southland Times has full results for the province including the news that Gary Tong is the new mayor of the Southland District Council.
Sitting mayor Tracy Hicks was elected unopposed in Gore and Bryan Cadogan was re-elected mayor of Clutha.
Timaru District has a new mayor – Damon Odey.
Claire Barlow has won a second term as mayor of Mackenzie District.
Andrew Judd is the new mayor of New Plymouth after beating incumbent Harry Duynhoven.
South Taranaki Mayor Ross Dunlop and Stratford Mayor Neil Volzke both retained their chains with comfortable majorities.
Marlborough mayor Alistair Sowman has been re-elected for a fourth term.
In the Bay of Plenty:

Tauranga’s Stuart Crosby looks set to return as mayor.

Ross Paterson is mayor of the Western Bay of Plenty again.

Mark Boyle has received 3672 votes while Don Thwaites got 2275.

Tony Bonne has been elected mayor of the Whakatane district.

Opotiki voted in John Forbes as mayor of the district council.

Don Cameron is Ruapehu District’s new mayor.

Dave Cull has been returned as mayor of Dunedin.

TV3 has a list of mayors elected from north to south.

Those not already accounted for above are:

GISBORNE: Meng Foon

HASTINGS: Lawrence Yule

WHANGANUI:: Annette Main
MASTERTON: Lyn Patterson (new)
UPPER HUTT: Wayne Guppy
HUTT CITY: Ray Wallace

GREY: Tony Kokshoorn (unopposed)

 


Coasters want work not moralising

21/07/2012

West Coast people have had enough of outsiders telling them what they can – and more often can’t – do:

West Coast Mayors say they are tired of outsiders telling locals how they should live their lives, while spreading misinformation about mining on the Coast.

Mayors Tony Kokshoorn and Pat McManus said they were appalled that Auckland and Labour MP Phil Twyford had agreed to receive a petition from protesters opposed to coal mining on the Denniston Plateau – which is the birth place of the Labour Party.

“Activists wrongly claim that Denniston is a pristine environment. It’s been a working coalfield for more than 100 years and it should continue to be.
“A local coal mining company is prepared to invest in the field and provide hundreds of much needed jobs for local people.

“We cannot wait for operations to begin and we will not tolerate Aucklanders moralising about what we are doing.

“The world needs our hard coking coal to make steel and other modern goods and we are willing and able to supply it,” the Mayors said.

Messrs Kokshoorn and McManus said they were particularly bemused that many who signed the petition were based outside the West Coast, or even outside the country.

The Mayors said they were open to discussions with environmental groups and would like to invite them to visit the coalfield on the Denniston Plateau.

Isn’t this far too often the way?

Local people want jobs and the benefits they bring to their communities. They don’t want them at any cost but they are open to discussion and development, with environmental safeguards.

Meanwhile people who might not even know exactly where the proposed jobs will be created, oppose development full stop because of a misguided idea it will ruin a pristine wilderness.

If it was their own backyards they were trying to protect they would be standing on firmer ground but it’s other people’s backyards where they want to ban development.

These people need jobs and the economic and social benefits which come with them. They are far better placed to ensure the environment is protected and possibly even enhanced than armchair environmentalists pontificating from distance parts of the country and the world.

 


Time to say good bye

15/01/2011

The families of the men who died in the Pike River mine have held on to hope for nearly two months. Now that hope has been dashed by the news the mine will be sealed it’s understandable that they’re lashing out.

Anger is one of the normal and natural stages of the grieving process and they can’t be blamed for feeling this way.

But those further away from the emotion, like the unions who say the decision has been made because of the cost, are making political capital out of vulnerable people’s misery.

Given the millions of dollars that have already gone into attempting rescue and then recovery, it wouldn’t be unreasonable if cost was a consideration. But it’s the danger in the mine and safety of recovery teams which led to the decision to stop.

Families and others who talk about recovery keep saying they want to bring the bodies back, but bodies aren’t designed to survive explosions and fire. Even if it was safe to go in to the mine, it is very unlikely there would be anything left to bring back.

This isn’t a time for political game playing. It’s a time for local  leadership to help people start looking ahead and Greymouth mayor  Tony Kokshoorn is showing it.

“At the end of the day we have to accept we can’t get these bodies out and our men are lying up there for the foreseeable future,” he says.

 Recovery efforts must now centre on the living not the dead.

It is time to say good bye and to concentrate on helping the bereaved and their community.


One step back two steps forward

24/07/2010

If the government had carried on with plans to investigate mining potential on schedule 4 conservation land it would have been accused of not listening to the people.

Now that it has taken heed of the vociferous opposition to the plan and not only said there will be no mining on this land but added more to it, it’s been accused of doing a u-turn.

It’s one of those damned if they did, damned if they didn’t situations but Trans Tasman has found some positives in it for the government:

. . . Brownlee says “NZers have given the mineral sector a clear mandate to go and explore that land, and where appropriate…utilise its mineral resources for everyone’s benefit.”

Therefore, on his analysis the biggest backdown since National came to office was “a valuable exercise” and he could be right. It hasn’t lost anything which really matters, it listened and it learned, and its opponents have been cut off at the knees. And the industry, far from being disappointed, says it’s getting what it has wanted for a decade-aero magnetic surveys of regions expected to yield deposits worth billions.

One step back from schedule 4 land has led to a couple of steps forward in other areas. Northland MP John Carter and West Coast Tasman MP Chris Auchinvole are showing a lot of enthusiasm for the possiblity of mining in their electorates.

And Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said city people shouldn’t use his region to ease their environmental consciences:

 . . . Aucklanders need to deal with what he calls “the mountain of carbon emissions” their highways are spewing out before blocking a small amount of mining on the West Coast.

He says it is not right that urban people should stop the region’s development.

Mr Kokshoorn says the area proposed for exploration was only “a few thousand hectares” out of the two million hectares of conservation land on the West Coast.

He said there is a currently a balance between eco-tourism and mining on the West Coast and further mining would not compromise the environment.

He said the Government’s decision not to mine on schedule four conservation land was hugely disappointing.

People who marvel at natural beauty as they drive through it at 100 kph or take a closer look on an occasional holiday have a right to their views. But while they stand up for the environment they forget the sustainability stool has two other legs – the economic and social ones.

Local people need work which mining could provide and the infrastructure and services which would come with it.

They have a far greater interest than visitors in ensuring mining doesn’t come at the cost of the environment because it will be done in their backyard, and no-one’s suggesting mining at any cost.

The Resource Management process will be able to ensure mining is done with minimal disruption and damage and the requirement to leave the land in the same or better state when the work is finished.


How else are we going to pay?

19/03/2010

Borrowing billions of dollars to stay still isn’t good economics.

The government can change that by spending less or taking more tax and it’s making progress on both those fronts.

But there are limits to spending cuts if it’s to keep its election promises – and it is determined to do that.

It has also said any tax changes will be fiscally neutral.

That leaves finding new ways to make money and extracting some of the mineral wealth which lies under our land could be part of that.

That idea isn’t universally popular and it’s no surprise that the leaked cabinet papers on possibilities for mining have been greeted with shrieks of outrage.

But a lot of that opposition is based on emotion not facts. If there is any mining it will be on a tiny amount of land and any applications will be subject to the safeguards of the resource consent process.

As Grey Distrct mayor Tony Kokshoorn said:

. . . there were “huge areas of the DOC estate that could be mined.

“The bottom line is that we are not going to let anybody ruin the West Coast, and the RMA [Resource Management Act] protects it,” he said.

Applicants will have to go through the consent process and that will ensure that any economic and social benefits from mining don’t come at the expense of the environment.

Emotion put an end to sustainable logging on the West Coast.

I hope it doesn’t put paid to new jobs and other wealth creating opportunities which could come from mining a small amount of land with low conservation values there. 

Because if we’re not allowed to mine then how else are we going to pay for the services which we’re borrowing so much to fund?


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