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.
(More info: http://www.2precious2mine.org.nz/ )
The DomPost yesterday:
Front page, the entirety of the above-the-fold:
Serepisos sells spare Ferrari. Guy owes the council money while on telly as the Donald on The Apprentice NZ. Is he selling the Ferrari for money to pay the council? TUNE IN NEXT WEEK!
Bottom of page 2, entire story smaller than the photo of Terry’s spare Ferrari: Thousands march against mining about “one of the biggest protests in Auckland for decades”. A genuine grass-roots popular protest that appears to cross party lines and is the first sign of unrest at a decision by the current government.
It is to weep.
There were a lot of people there. The house monkey spotted me and my Cal in this crowd photo from Scoop’s coverage (and I found him in this one). Ran into china_shop, who pointed out how weird it was that the speakers kept citing The Economist (thanks to this article that rips into this nation’s environmental credentials).
The fellow moose was elsewhere in the crowd, and mentions it at the end of this post. Also there was Stephen Judd, who adds a mighty GRAR, too. Both the dancing moose and Mr Judd lead with another story I hadn’t even heard of until their posts: sacking the democratically elected Environment Canterbury council to make way for some National cronies. See also Brother Knife. The Nats have opened the ‘gates and it’s all rushing through now. Expect morer, and worser.
The above title is from Claire Browning’s great response to Gerry Brownlee on the subject of mining. It’s a clean and precise rebuttal. Read it. (I found it via the Dim-Post.)
I was talking to Dale yesterday about this and we shared our confusion at this whole situation. As Dale said, how can they not see this as a big vote-loser? Where are the gains to balance that out? Claire expresses similar feelings down in the comments, with the post title above being one of her explanations for the behaviour on display. I am no wiser. I’ve heard some conspiracy theories that it’s about controlling the media while other changes get pushed through, or about putting this or that MP over, and the govt will pull back and say “sorry folks we listen love us!” but I don’t have any faith in the present govt’s ability to run that kind of disciplined strategy, and Brownlee has totally nailed his credibility to this endeavour so I don’t think an elegant backdown is possible any more.
Insanity. So I’m intending to get to the protest today at Parliament, 12.30 to 1.30.