Conserve Versus Converse

Heard Kelvyn Eglinton of Newmont Waihi Gold on National Radio this morning making the case for drilling into conservation land. His line (people who’ve had media training always repeat their line word for word several times unless they’re very skilled) was that there’s plenty of low-value conservation land in the protected Schedule 4 territories, so lets see if we find some high-value minerals there and then we’ll have a conversation about what to do.

There have been well over 30,000 submissions on the government’s mining proposals. That is a phenomenal number – one for every hundred voters in the country. It’s impossible to know how many are against the mining of schedule four land, but I think 95% would be a fair guess.

I think that means, Kelvyn, that we’ve already had the conversation. What’s more, the government know it – they are carefully preparing a backdown, with the man responsible Gerry Brownlee seizing on a minor issue to pointedly distance himself from Newmont. It’s clearly the enormous vote-loser everyone sensible expected it to be. We’re no closer to understanding why the Nats didn’t see this steamroller of negative public opinion a mile off, they certainly haven’t revealed any late-stage maneuvers to show they were controlling the story the whole time. It isn’t because they’re poor at media management – witness their expert delivery of the budget, as smooth a piece of media control as has ever been seen in this country. They just didn’t see it as a problem until it was far too late. I can only presume they really are that out of touch with the national identity and with what New Zealanders truly value.

Its pleasing to see a grass-roots opposition movement really take off. Kelvyn Eglinton’s conversation is over before it starts. And that makes me happy.

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4 thoughts on “Conserve Versus Converse”

  1. I think its worth noting that National’s overall Media strategy is still in place and working well, which is “No Shit Shall Land on John”.

    They’re incredibly clever at keeping John well away from anything that smells even slightly unpopular. Super City is Rodney Hide. Mining is Brownlee. Cigarette tax is Turia. All the upopular stuff gets someone else’s name on it, preferably someone from another party, or someone everyone already hates. Key is all over anything good, and miles away from anything that smells of shit. They’ve managed to pull this off every single time.

  2. Simon – totally 100% true, and worth noting as you say. I was talking about this with a friend-who-knows (serious top-level experience at this stuff) and they were confident it’s going to start landing on Key eventually, either through in-party resentment, through the fact that he’s going to have to get something of substance attached to his name eventually or he’ll lose appeal as an empty figure, or through his own buffoonish nature. (The cannibal Tuhoe gag is not the only gaffe he’s made, he routinely says astoundingly tone-deaf things to public audiences, and it’s going to get him sooner or later.)

    I don’t know that I share that confidence. Smiling John (formerly the Smiling Assassin, but who remembers that now?) has a battalion of people working hard to keep him pristine.

  3. John Key shot my dog in front of my four-year-old daughter, and laughed at her tears.

    NO HE DIDN’T REALLY but I bet that if he did, his handlers would find a way to make it appear as if he heroically saved her from a savage hound.

    (I don’t have a four-year-old daughter, and if I did I would not let her have a dog.)

  4. Yeh NZ! Make me proud to see that we can still move on such social/environmental issues!

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