Newmonts Virgin Bride

If Northland is already in a pre-arranged marriage with a mining company the virgin bride needs to have a close look at the contract regardless of what her godparents (in this case Phil, Shane, Wayne and of course, the marriage celebrant; Steven Joyce) have to say about it.

The fine print may well read:

Virgin Bride must hand over body and lands principally: Puhipuhi. She is not to argue or negotiate because she will be labelled a socialist loony and kept in an attic room (but not before the dowry is handed over).

The groom (who herewith will be referred to as Newmont) will provide an income for some of the brides’ family provided they have the skills useful to Newmont. (Getting young blokes in Northland to pass drug tests might be optimistic yet if Northland’s youth sobered up and realised they have the numbers to change things if they bothered to act together and vote that could only be a good thing.) The groom is not responsible for aiding young workers to get these skills and will just fly them in from elsewhere if they can’t be found locally. Although mineral deposits belong to the bride (herewith known as Puhipuhi) they will be acquisitioned by Newmont and a percentage may be paid to the executor hereby known as the government in Wellington.

In the case of the marriage of Newmont and Puhipuhi’s cousin; Waihi, this percentage is non-existant.

Although royalties are now insultingly low and not tied to such things as a superannuation fund as in places like Norway, Newmont promises a few jobs and Uncle Phil says that’s enough. 60% of adults in Waihi however now live on under $20K a year. Hardly get rich quick. It’s hard to keep the love alive when you don’t see the profits either. Ask any dairy farmers who owe money to overseas banks right now.

To quell disquiet, Newmont Waihi found putting up signs on the beaches around Coromandel telling people to take care of the environment was enough to convince people you have a pulse – if not exactly a heart. The unease around the extreme toxicity of the mercury laden rocks round Puhipuhi and what seepage may do to the water catchment in a flood prone area might prove trickier to put a sugar coat on.

Newmont and Waihi was only to be a temporary affair and declared null and void in 2007. Waihi, now not so virgin and looking fairly haggard, was looking forward to that. Although consummated – Waihi’s relatives started to get nervous about the marriage around the time the houses in Waihi began falling into big holes. That had nothing to do with the mine though. I know. I asked PR.

Some family members were worried depending as they do on the mine for wages. Other sources of income have been neglected in the area common in mining towns meaning a guaranteed bust after the boom. But for now the mine extends and the good people of Waihi live in a land of shifting goal posts every time the price of gold goes up.

Any questions here from the relatives of Puhipuhi, now irate at their girl being sold off behind their backs without due discussion or process are being dismissed as irrelevant by the Minister of Resources Mr. Phil Heatley. I’d ask him myself only I’d have to send out a search party. There is an election soon so no doubt he’ll be back, but by that time it will probably be too late. He recently declared that ‘all the issues (regarding mining in Northland) have been discussed.” But with whom? Steve, Shane and Wayne I’m guessing but is that really good enough? Maybe Phil has discussed them with you in which case let me know.

Until I see the fine print though, leave me off the wedding guest list.

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