That thin green line

There’s something so comforting about the familiar – women go back to partners that beat them to within an inch of their lives because… it’s what they know and there’s a certain comfort in that, however self-defeating and dangerous. I feel the same way about Gerry Brownlee’s announcement that Department of Conservation land should be on the block as part of our latest get rich quick plan.

A blessed relief to get back to true National party politics after all this time, roll out the topographical maps and start talking… mineral resources. All that tinkering with allowing developers to cut down a few trees was a distracting sideshow so it’s reassuring to get back to business. And what a lot of business there is to be had. Billions of it according to some reports, on our seabed alone. Foreshore? For sure bro, it’s yours – if you can afford to buy it. That’s what’s so great about government owned assets – everybody gets a slice of the pie, providing you get invited to sit round the table when it’s getting carved up of course.

Sure there are a few pesky national parks in the way and some wowser is sure to whinge about a squished snail or fairy tern. Haven’t they heard about evolution? Surely if you’re stupid enough to have been born a slow moving invertebrate or make your nest where quad bikes rove then it’s your own fault if you disappear from the face of the earth. And Gerry is right – there are some excellent examples of mining companies co-existing with environmental responsibility. He used two of them in his address to the inaugural coal seam gas industry briefing in June this year where he discussed the tricky art of getting DoC people to give mining people easier access to conservation land. I would have thought people in the department of conservation would have been less than ecstatic at the thought of being the mining companies’ bum boys but according to Gerry they’re working hand in hand with Crown minerals to get the process underway.

Perhaps it was just the terminology that was the problem – when Gerry talks about gaining access to natural resources he is not talking about New Zealanders being able to appreciate the fecundity of our forests and wildlife by being able to walk and camp amongst it. Rather, he means – mining companies should be able to prospect where they please regardless of what or who might be living on top. Maybe they were agreeing to two completely different things, historically we’re pretty good at that. Gerry talked about Newmont’s Martha mine being a shining example of sustainability and I have to admit that after visiting their website I was convinced. Of course hard science was not a key factor in this conclusion but a mind boggling display of graphs and unintelligible squiggles, especially on their exit strategy for, well, 2007 had all the hypnotic effect of a Tibetan Mandela. The colours were pretty but I didn’t understand a thing. I’m sure Newmont have the people of Waihi and their environment at heart. Really. Although the shine may have worn off slightly for those people who lost their homes down a ruddy great hole eight years ago when a section of Waihi township subsided. That’s got nothing to do with the mine though. I know. Their PR people told me. As for using the example of Solid Energy agreeing to move an endangered snail population out of the way of a mining operation; that was …inspirational. Lets mine all over Northland! Move the entire kiwi population to somewhere with lots of native trees… like… Grey Lynn. That’d work. People love kiwis there – we could keep them in captivity until the native forests of Ponsonby grew back and then release the kiwi with white balloons and poetry readings by small children. That would leave us free to dig up all the stuff that’s sitting there under the useless wasteland of trees and retarded fauna and we could finally get back to the business of keeping up with the Joneses over the ditch. Without worrying about that thin green line that just keeps getting in the way.

Related Link:
Kiwis can speak out on mining

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