Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Broken promises on mining

Last year, in the wake of massive public protests, National backed down on its plans to dig up our national parks. As part of that backdown, they signalled changes to the Crown Minerals Act, including to the management of the wider conservation estate:

The government has agreed in principle that significant applications to mine on public land should be publicly notified – currently no notification is required. This proposal was not raised in the discussion paper as an issue for discussion, but the government has noted public feedback on this matter and is responding accordingly.

The proposal will ensure that mining-related applications are treated in the same way as other applications for access to conservation land. The change will provide an opportunity for affected people and businesses to have their views taken into account when decisions are made about mining applications of significance.

(Emphasis added. Cabinet Paper here [PDF])

Of course, they lied:

The Government has broken a promise over mining on its first working day after the election, Forest & Bird says.


In the lead-up to Saturday's general election, Forest & Bird attempted in meetings and letters to get Wilkinson to commit to public consultation on Australian-owned coalminer Bathurst Resource's plans for an opencast mine on the West Coast's Denniston Plateau.

But in a letter sent on Monday – the first working day after Saturday's election – Wilkinson told Forest & Bird general manager Mike Britton that access for mining on conservation land was considered under the Crown Minerals Act, which did not provide for public consultation.

Therefore, public consultation would "not be appropriate", she said.

Not even a day back, and they're breaking promises already. This doesn't bode well for the rest of the term. And it suggests an absolute contempt for democracy and the people of New Zealand on National's part. But then, we knew that already, didn't we?