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Denniston Plateau

Govt and miners have learned lesson

Denniston Plateau

Denniston Plateau – Image trailsource.com

The Denniston Plateau deal shows that National and the mining industry have learned their lesson from their last attempt to mine on conservation land.

Sure, it was a tad cynical of the Government to make this latest decision the day before the rules on public notification changed. However, the basic thrust of the plan is sound: the money generated from harming one part of the conservation estate can be used to make the rest better.

Overall, if the Government’s plan comes off, we will be left with a better conservation estate. In a time of limited budgets and pressing conservation priorities, such deals make sense.

But for those who don’t accept degradation of the environment at any price – welcome to the wilderness of irrelevance, where have you been since humankind emerged 200,000 years ago. The issue is how the hell do we minimise such degradation given humankind’s insatiable desire for material aggrandisement.

“Stop” is not an alternative that society is ready to accept.

For those of you who missed the guts of the deal, here it is:

  • The plan is for an open-cast mine (yes, that means it would be visible, an eyesore even – albeit safer than Pike River) on 106ha of the Denniston Plateau, around 5 per cent of that particular park area.
  • In exchange, the mining company is offering $22 million to improve the DoC estate elsewhere. The plan is to use that money on pest eradication in the Kahurangi National Park (home to the Heaphy Track).

 

To those who oppose this idea of offsets our question is “what is your price?”. The concept of offsetting holds that damaging our natural capital in one area can be compensated by improving it in another. If the mining is lucrative enough, presumably this would be an overall win for the DoC estate and conservation generally, not to mention providing jobs for the people of the West Coast.

The idea of offsets has been around for a while – remember that once-was-credible Solid Energy company that set out to mine lignite in Southland, and offered environmental offsets for the carbon emissions of the coal by planting trees or buying carbon credits.

While conservationists naturally don’t like the concept of having to put a price on our natural capital, the reality is jobs and incomes matter, and if the govern-ment of the day feels extractive industries are the best way to provide those, the challenge for those who disagree is to prove otherwise. Until they can, extractive industries will continue to grow.

Our only regret with the Denniston decision is that DoC didn’t manage to get $50 million as the offset. That would have funded the whole of the Stewart Island pest eradication and we’d have a great time proving which project – the mine or the World Heritage site – was the better boon to jobs and incomes!

We need to show that the jobs and income consequences of protecting, enhancing and monetising our natural capital are greater than those of digging the next mine. That’s the challenge.

Of course, this offset concept doesn’t work when the environment destroyed by mining is irreplaceable.

Some would say that’s always the case – they need to come up with how we decimate the world’s population so consumerism stops. Others would say we’ve destroyed enough, stop now – they need to tell us how to allocate what we’ve got across a rising population, or at least who is going to go without what. Good luck at the ballot box with that one.

So how unique is the Denniston Plateau compared to the rest of New Zealand? Those who make claims of the plateau being “priceless” or “irreplaceable” either have no skin in the game (nothing to lose) or find making trade-offs intellectually impossible, so simply advocate abolition of extraction.

Easy for outsiders to oppose something in principle and not get sullied with the choices faced in the real world by those who have to actually go without as a consequence. We suggest they will need to keep chaining themselves to trees to make their point. When they come down they may find that everyone else has left the country in search of a job.

The real issue is that DOC and the New Zealand public need better information to make these sorts of choices. We need ways of evaluating the impacts of deals like this.

What is a fair compensation package for mining the plateau? What impact on our species can we expect from mining, and what conservation dividend would we get from the $22 million? These are the real questions to ask.

Looking forward, most DOC land is in the unused highlands. Would some of that be an appropriate trade-off to make Stewart Island or Great Barrier predator free for instance?

This sort of information would also help decide, to the best of our knowledge, what New Zealand’s conservation priorities are and what sacrifices could be reasonably made to achieve them.

DOC is the curator for around one third of New Zealand’s land. It is charged with saving New Zealand’s endangered species at the same time. The plain fact is that the department can’t hope to achieve this without making the most of the assets under its jurisdiction.

If it blanket-bans extractive industries in the conservation estate that we want, we either accept a lower standard of material well-being or we get smarter about protecting, enhancing and monetising that conservation estate. Locking it up is not the answer, because the predators and the alien plants are certainly on the march.

That is why in coming weeks we will be talking about imposing a levy on foreign tourists accessing these treasures.

  • David Crawford

    Excellent article…

    • Neil

      I’m still concerned we’re even talking about this bearing in mind the poor business state the Bathurst Resources is in, and the China is winding back it’s desire for coal from the Australian continent. Why is this a good idea?

  • David George

    The trouble with the conservation estate is that it basically belongs to everyone.
    [including our visitors, imo.]

  • Curtis Antony Nixon

    Australian mining company Bathurst Resources wants to scrape the top off part of one of our national parks, to extract the fossilized remains of ancient trees. This will destroy the habitat of rare native animals. Very few jobs will result. The profit will leave NZ. Coal is the worst polluting fuel there is, contributing the most to greenhouse gas emissions. A trivial $22 million. Our own coal company Solid Energy is going down the tubes because the market for coal has collapsed.
    Even a past Executive Director of the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand agrees.
    What’s not to like?

  • MikeM

    To those who oppose this idea of offsets our question is “what is your price?”

    For me much more of the problem is in the ‘stewardship land’ status being used as an excuse to make this possible at all. Stewardship Land doesn’t mean low conservation value, it means that the land hasn’t yet been assessed for its conservation value. Before actions like this can occur, I’d like to see a process in place which requires any controversial Stewardship Land to be properly assessed to determine if it’s worthy of having status such as a National Park or a Scientific Reserve or a Nature Reserve, and so on, so it will be assessed and treated on its merits in the same way that a gazetted park or reserve would be assessed and treated. Otherwise it becomes an un-assessed lottery as to what we’re losing.

    Another issue I have is a trust issue of the operator. I’d like to see a reliable guarantee that Bathurst’s subsidiary company which runs the mine won’t simply go bankrupt after it’s scraped off all the topsoil and made a mess, and that it won’t be flogged off by Bathurst once most of the easy coal is gone, only to be bought by a nothing company that promptly and suspiciously goes bankrupt right at the time that it’s due to clean everything up, ensuring that New Zealand taxpayers get left with the mess. Requiring the company to produce the clean-up cash in a protected account at the same time that it creates the damage might go some way towards this.

    Effective regulation to protect environmental and conservation values from badly managed and badly insured corporations already has a bad record in this country. In the scheme of things. $22 million, over 35 years, is not even half of the $47 million that kiwi taxpayers have already spent on cleaning up after the Rena in a very short time.. only part of which is likely to be recovered from Diana Shipping.

    • Lorna Sandeman

      Good point about trust.

    • rcarterbrown

      Yes there have been problems in the US and many other countries in the past. The mining company should have to pay a bond that is equal to, or exceeds the full cost of restoring the site before they get a permit. Otherwise as you have mentioned, we the taxpayer will be paying for it. On that note the price of coal is superficially low and doesn’t include all the real costs such as the cost of mitigation of climate change to future generations of burning that cost now. Bathurst and their customers should be paying that in advance now…

  • Curtis Antony Nixon

    Noam Chomsky: Wrecking nature for short term profit

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FisA1z4OT70

  • Mike Gregory

    Get with the 21st century people. First, the world needs the resources and supply is needed. Second, the government has a responsibility to create jobs. I say to the greenies, go look at countries that have land recovery systems in place, but no you won’t. All your diatribe is based on anecdotal evidence. You would not know that mining had occurred. I have seen these areas firsthand such as the Tisand mining in Zululand, South Africa and I am seriously impressed with the input by the mining companies. Give the government and these companies the opportunities to prove they can be responsible.

    • Curtis Antony Nixon

      @Mike. Mining is so last millennium. Look at which countries? Zululand, South Africa? OK I will (you could have included a link for your anecdotal evidence); and it is arrogant of you to assume I won’t look at your evidence before you even give me the opportunity to do so. And ‘diatribe’ and ‘greenie’ is just pathetic name calling that avoids using facts to make your point. Primary extraction industry like mining is destined to end up like the Bluff aluminum smelter – asking for another discount from government for even cheaper power while the rest of us pay more and more = socialist industry.

  • Anthony

    The mine area is a wasteland, formally an underground mine in a area that was cleared & burned 100 years ago. The mine will clean up some of the toxic mess left behind by miners of old. This is not pristine DOC estate, “schedule 4″, or what people might think of as unspoilt godzone, it was inherited in the amalgamation with the New Zealand Forest Service and Department of Lands and Survey. DOC now administers about 40% of NZ land, some of this needs to be developed if the country is to progress. We cannot afford to abandon 40% of the country.

    • Mike Gregory

      Well said.

  • Rod Stuart

    How embarrassing.

    The National Government has all but destroyed our state owned coal industry ‘Solid Energy’. Now they are handing our coal over to the mineral rich Australians who will no doubt make a fortune from a resource all New Zealanders own. The National Government has recently made redundant many DOC staff who are the only caretakers of our national parks owned by all Kiwis. The $22m offered by Bathhurst Mining is a token gesture to keep the people from revolting. Key and his party of capitalists are selling off our energy resources in broad daylight! It does not surprise me that a cat hating investment guru agrees with such a greedy polarization of wealth policy. I do agree with one thing Gareth says and that is that we need a sanctuary ~ a sanctuary from outspoken capitalists that think wealth is all society is about. The Auckland Islands come to mind Gareth – not many cats or greenies there. A sanctuary from a government that is selling what all New Zealanders own from right under our noses. Wake up New Zealand ~ we are being sold off to an elite group of capitalist thugs!

  • Kerehi.

    Extraction industries are a growing market because once natural advantages are exhausted there is one final option, dig it all up.

    Sound economics should not have to rest upon the shoulders of minerals alone. Pursuant to preserving natural environmental states, are committments Govt need to satisfy: labour, industry but especially the polling booths, the tying down between socio-political and economic certainty, should not be traded off so easily, we in their entirety are very short term. The effects irreversable and wholly reliant upon a series of stop start hoops symptomatic of an economy bent on unsurfacing the very hinterland upon which biodiverse speciation once evolved. Is both shallow and flawed in the future of preservation and protection.

  • Matt Thomson

    total bollocks Gareth.

  • Peter

    Hi Gareth

    While I’m a natural greenie in terms of wanting to do the best for our conservation estate the reality is that we losing the battle in most of the mainland. In an ideal world the government would shell out plenty of funding and tourists would pay a levy as way of contribution to the upkeep of our conservation estate that most come here to see. Unfortunately I have to be pragmatic and make compromises and we need to get a few facts straight.

    1.The area for exploitation is 5% of the total area.
    2. Denniston has already been extensively mined and frankly, it’s obvious most people who are protesting have never been there as its one of the few places where mining might be an aesthetic improvement.
    3. Most of the endangered species will be moved from the area and there is current research that shows that rehabilitation is successful and species can relocated.
    4. I didn’t vote National and wouldn’t trust them further than I can throw them but the last Labour government wasn’t much better and they all make noises about saving species but the reality is we’re going backwards and we’d better come up with some better ideas. Animals don’t vote so I don’t think any Government is going to make substantial changes so more money is going to make a difference, at least for Kahurangi.
    5. If we don’t supply the coal, and this is high grade stuff that will generate less greenhouse gas per steel ingot, then someone else will, probably at greater cost to the environment.
    6. If you’re going to protest then I suggest you never buy a steel item again, never own a car, computer, whatever, because you’re a hypocrite if you do. What your saying is that it’s alright for someone else’s backyard to be exploited, just not ours.

    • rcarterbrown

      -I’m quite happy for people to be mining in my backyard, as long as it’s not on conservation land

      -The more the supply of coal is reduced the higher its price which will make recycling steel much more appealing to manufacturers. You can essentially recycle steel indefinitely…

      -80% of the known reserves of coal must be left in the ground forever if we are to limit warming to two degrees. (http://www.carbontracker.org/)

    • Curtis Antony Nixon

      5. The old ‘if we don’t do it, someone else will’ argument. How much evil has been done in the world off the back of this idea? it’s right up there with ‘I was just following orders’.

    • Curtis Antony Nixon

      6. Yes I use steel products. Yes I think they should be made from coal and iron ore from Australia or somewhere like that that doesn’t have the unique ecological values NZ does. We have an amazing natural heritage not found elsewhere in the world. We should be proud of our strengths, not trying to copy (badly) other countries. Get it?

      • Mike Gregory

        I am really interested to understand what our “unique ecological values” are. Please could you expand further.

        • Curtis Antony Nixon

          Many of New Zealand’s animals and plants are not found elsewhere –
          these are known as endemic species. For example, over 80% of the 2,500
          species of native conifers, flowering plants and ferns are found nowhere
          else. And of the 245 species of birds breeding in New Zealand before
          human arrival, 71% were endemic. This high rate is mainly the result of
          the country’s long isolation from other land masses.

          http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/native-plants-and-animals-overview/page-1

        • Curtis Antony Nixon

          “An environmentalist is someone who believes it is immoral to leave
          future generations a despoiled landscape and a toxic environment so that
          this generation can make a short term profit – P H Delpeche”.

  • John Morrison

    Excellent article Gareth, now let us talk why seals are protectd and DOC are unable to sustainably harvest these “things” and turn the proceeds back to wider conservation work? Cheers man

  • Lorna Sandeman

    Look I get all your points about the good to our conservation estate. BUT. Has the $22 million been paid? What happens if the company, which is a ‘for profit’ one, decides there is ‘no profit’ out of Dennistoun. In that case, what is in place to clean up the mess & remediate the area which is also part of the deal? By the way have you been up there to see in detail what it looks & feels like? I went on the plateau bioblitz & was completely amazed at the intricacies & age of the biodiversity, despite it having been so heavily mined in the past. It is as a result a very fragile community, just on the tip. More exploitation, has a real chance that the balance drops to the wrong side & it turns into a desert. I am aware that the actual area being mined, is way less than the whole plateau, but it still concerns me that this fragile community is being used as a means for DOC to get of gaol for other of its now majorly underfunded core responsibilities.

  • rcarterbrown

    Personally I don’t think 22 million is very much money (in terms of corporate or govt. funding). If you watched the news tonight, more was spent on the over-run on one govt. project alone. What are the projected profits or revenue from this venture (ball park)? Surely we can get more than 22 million for wrecking 106ha of conservation land and taking a heap of our coal (which we own as a nation)

  • Victoria Adams

    The Denniston Plateau is unique because IS predator free, a natural sanctuary. You need to talk to Rod Morris, Gareth. This is Age Of Stupid type thinking on your part.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3KjUSbzqHE

    • http://www.sanderson.co.nz/Artist/139/Paul-Martinson.aspx Paul Martinson

      very moving and no doubt all of what Rod says is true..and there will be a cost somewhere. But let he who is without the need for ‘mined products’ in this world stand up and be counted.

      • Curtis Antony Nixon

        Again, no one can say that, so you are attempting to deny anyone the right to have a contrary opinion. This is a free speech forum so stop trying to shut people down.

        • http://www.sanderson.co.nz/Artist/139/Paul-Martinson.aspx Paul Martinson

          I am not trying to shut down alternate opinions in this debate. I actually respect them. Yours included. And haven’t attacked anyone as I might normally do with cats arguments…and have purposely avoided confrontation (except on one occasion.) The video above show species of invertebrates that are not endangered. The Ringlet butterfly for example is really common in many places. If the argument is for protection of biodiversity..then it must also consider the benefits of hammering the various conservation estates with 22 millions bucks worth of 1080.

          • Curtis Antony Nixon

            Your words – “No one has the right to say ”mine somewhere else” when they even say it with a computer.”
            I am saying “mine somewhere else”, Paul, using a computer (of course.)

            You are trying to deny me and everyone else who posts here using a computer (that’s everyone, right?) an opinion. It’s an ugly argument style, called cavil

          • http://www.sanderson.co.nz/Artist/139/Paul-Martinson.aspx Paul Martinson

            I’m only using it as a figure of speech. Not meaning it literally I’m sorry that you take offense. None was intended. And it’s not fair of you to say it’s trivial either. The point I’m trying to make is all of human progress is now based on things we dig out of the ground and that includes ever fraction of a computer. Ive supported Green peace with a monthly donation of $20 for years(best I could afford) until they recently tried to stop oil prospecting ..which to me was ‘science research’ and when they rang me and asked why I stopped payments… I said “did you sail out in wooden boats or motor out there with fuel burning vessels”?. The answer was of course the latter. They understood there own hypocrisy. If you can stop Denniston getting laid to waist…good on you Curtis ,but I can’t in all good conscience ague against this deal unless humans find another entirely different way to live.

          • Curtis Antony Nixon

            Are you typing your comments on a wind-power, wooden computer, Paul?

            Greenpeace is a big business corporation that I personally take with a large grain of salt. “Trivial”? Not my word.

            Can I say I do support the mining industry in general but not coal, due to it’s greenhouse gas emissions. And I see no need for NZ to get into this game – it’s another version of Muldoon’s Think Big projects, both of which ignore the opportunity cost i.e. we are better sticking to what we are good at (tourism, conservation of our unique native ecosystem, farming, forestry, horticulture, viticulture, movie making – all things that require both environmental custodianship); and leave mining to the countries with the space to be able to lose a big hole in their landscape i.e. Sth Africa, Australia etc.

          • http://www.sanderson.co.nz/Artist/139/Paul-Martinson.aspx Paul Martinson

            yes I’m typing this on a computer. And I’m not wanting to be a hypocrite either…such as Greenpeace was. I agree with your desires for NZ and the are admirable. And glad to hear you’re not closed off to the value of mining . But I’m boringly practical and feel the picture is big and complex…more than I would like it to be. Tourism is really important…and why I’m so hacked off with John Key (minister of tourism)being a silly cat lover with conservationist hate speech (ie; calls Gareth a kitty hater). All your suggestions make NZ a better place, but our financial woes are not sorted with just those ventures alone. We need far more foreign investment and a much more diverse economy in many areas for any long term prosperity…esp to pay for the growing health system needs of so many, an aging population and employment for so called ‘workers’. What if there is a world over supply of milk one day and fuel costs become so great (as they will) that tourists can’t get here. What then ?

  • AkhenatenAotearoa

    Even if the Denniston Plateau isn’t a unique environment we still need to stop mining (burning) coal. We signed up for 2° max warming at Copenhagen, we need to action this by leaving coal in the ground. Bill McGibbon says there is 5x as much fossil fuels in the ground as we can afford to burn without risking dangerous climate change. Coal is not necessary for steel production: The world coal association says 30% of steel is already made from recycled steel – we’ve got so much stuff out there we could easily increase this. Secondly iron can be, has been and still is made with charcoal: The UN body FAO says Brazil makes 10million tons of iron from charcoal a year (turning iron into steel does not require adding carbon). We have a “wall of wood” coming on in NZ looking for a market, we should be having West Coasters make charcoal for carbon neutral steel making rather than digging through the Denniston plateau for climate destroying coal.

    • Mike Gregory

      Sorry mate. Sandra Lee and the greens stuffed that one. Limited removal of trees from the west coast.

      • Curtis Antony Nixon

        There are lots of trees in other places in NZ than the West Coast, Mike. They could be used to make charcoal. Or better still industrial hemp, which yields 4x the amount of biomass per ha per year than pinus radiata. So many better options than fossil coal.

  • Kaitiaki Tuturu

    Really disappointed in you Gareth. You have had the science reviewed on climate change and man’s input and yet here you are supporting coal extraction for the coal energy industry a prime climate change input. You also supposedly support predator free NZ environments and yet here you are supporting the destruction of one of our prime predator free conservation estates. The paltry $22m is a joke given the proposed amount of coal to be extracted. It is not a carbon offset and you make light of the concept to suggest it is. Lastly you run the same old alarmist capitalist right wing crap that if we do not embrace the opening up and mining of our most sacred of DOC environments we face a lower standard of material well-being….you really shouldn’t be all that worried Gareth I think you will do just fine lol. We all can live with less and by the way many do Gareth and guess what they are happy!! Review the need for the 2-3 cars, the 4 teles at home, the 2-3 bathrooms, the 4-5 bedroom McMansions, heat pumps left right and centre, regular trips overseas….we can all live with a little less and do not have to industrialise the conservation estates as proponents like Gareth would have us do.

  • http://www.sanderson.co.nz/Artist/139/Paul-Martinson.aspx Paul Martinson

    No one has the right to say ”mine somewhere else” when they even say it with a computer. Something that is built entirely of mined products. All the wealth and prosperity the world now has, …is owed to the mining industry.
    Its a fact of our existence and one we have to accept. While everyone
    argues over the Denniston Plateau …our forests and native species are
    engaged in a LOSING battle with mammalian predators and herbivores . But that’s relatively ok because no one can see the scars so obviously.

    • Curtis Antony Nixon

      Paul i really think it is disingenuous of you to say no-one can say mine somewhere else on a computer. Australia is full of coal, let them dig big holes in their big country. New Zealand COULD be a clean, green paradise, capitalising on our natural environment through eco-tourism (tourism is our biggest foreign exchange earner). But NOT if we have mines and oil rigs polluting and despoiling the place. We are a few small islands – it’s one or the other, there isn’t room for mining and eco-tourism here. Plus mining sullies our image, after LOTR and The Hobbit have done so much for it.

      • http://www.sanderson.co.nz/Artist/139/Paul-Martinson.aspx Paul Martinson

        Hi Curtis,
        I am struggling with my position on this issue when Ive always had a purist point view of how NZ should be. But sadly I feel these trade offs are necessary (as much as I dislike them)because a huge proportion of New zealanders are now drawing more from the state than they put in and we need far more than just the ‘clean green’ image to get us through this period. The Govt has to borrow 120 million a week for years yet and tax increases won’t achieve a great deal. Mining of resources does generate short term wealth and I’m only saying what seems disingenuous to you because I do think it a flawed argument to say “mine somewhere else” when to me everywhere in the world is ‘special’. My view is a global view and while I love NZ …I am conscious of the destruction elsewhere so it’s hard to adopt your position.

        • rcarterbrown

          If we’re borrowing 120 million a week what difference is a one of gain of 22 million going to achieve? It’s a pittance for what we are losing. I wouldn’t call it a ‘trade-off’ as we are clearly losing on the deal…

          • http://www.sanderson.co.nz/Artist/139/Paul-Martinson.aspx Paul Martinson

            the govt can’t find anymore money for Doc in the budget….so 22 million is a heck of a lot of predator control. There is more to the mining than just that lump some surely…. tax revenue and employment. You have to start somewhere. If you use that argument them you will never get anything going. How many tourists visit the plateau? How many tourists visit elsewhere? Humans mine stuff. It’s what we do. Its our ‘ugly’ side if you like. Do we have the right to trade with nations that benefit from mining while we say ‘not here thanks” ? aren’t we hypocrites if we do that? I hate destruction of the environment…but while we argue over this ..our native species elsewhere are in a LOSING battle with predators and we will end off with a wonderful remote plateau and a dead conservation estate elsewhere.

        • Curtis Antony Nixon

          “South Island search for platinum planned

          Exploratory mining rights for platinum could be granted over land used to film The Hobbit. The Government yesterday unveiled a plan to open 4422 square kilometres
          of land, mainly around Nelson and the upper West Coast, to exploration
          for platinum mining.”

          http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/8761200/South-Island-search-for-platinum-planned
          We can’t have wilderness eco-tourism off the back of multi-million dollar movie productions like The Hobbit AND unsightly mines. Either or.

          • http://www.sanderson.co.nz/Artist/139/Paul-Martinson.aspx Paul Martinson

            what about the vast numbers of tourists that go into Fiordland right now and hear nothing but water, and rustling leaves? The yellow head is going extinct. The Kakapo is gone from there in your life time.

  • Zenguy

    There’s a big difference between adjusting trading levels of quality in our natural capital, and reducing that capital.

    An open cast mine is not a “quality adjustment” to natural capital, it’s removal of that capital.

    The hole will still be there in 50 years. Will the benefits from the offset payment?

    • NGM123

      Not if it’s for pest control in the middle of Fiordland, but if Great Barrier Island was restored instead, that could be a beacon of conservation achievement in 50 years time.

  • Mike Gregory

    It is interesting watching these posts from various peoples points of view. Some from the ostrich clan who should get their heads out the sand.

    First – tell me this, what is the alternative to fossil energy? I know, lets go nuclear! No that’s very bad! More hydro? Sorry, not enough dams and anyway we are not allowed to build the dams cos it’s bad for the environment. Do it somewhere else, not in my neck of the woods. I’ll sit in a mud hut without power and warmth. I don’t think so! We humans like our warmth, comforts, TV, computers, cell-phones. Need I go on?
    Second – NZ is not as unique as some people believe. We are not clean and green! We are a rather messy nation polluting our waterways and environment.
    Third – The human being is an insatiable user of products. The third world is consuming more and more products that are mined in various forms from various parts of the world. The fact of the matter is that until someone can come up with more “clean, green” alternative products to plastic, steel etc then there will be mining and in our back yard at some point whether you like it or not.
    Fourth – While there are people wanting to work, while there are people choosing not to work but live off the fruits of others labours, while we subsidise various institutions through our taxes, while we want better things for our families etc etc then there needs to be employment to fund all of this and to that end we need to find ways to employ people. If someone can come up with a better way you’re a way better person than I am.

    While there is an argument to stop mining, my humble opinion is the argument for it is stronger. Like nuclear power will eventually happen, mining will also happen. “For the greater good”??

    • rcarterbrown

      I don’t think anyone has actually said they don’t want mining in their back yards, just not in National Parks. If they’re not protected why have them in the first place?

      The second part of the argument against is that we’re getting shafted in the deal… 22 million is nothing for what Bathurst is getting in return.

      You seemed to have gone a bit of topic here with benefit bashing, nuclear power ect. for some reason….. But it shows that you obviously don’t to your homework, for example nuclear power has been in decline globally for years, mainly for economic reasons (too bloody expensive) but also for health/environmental reasons.

  • cosmopolite

    $22M is not much compensation for an open cast mine in a national park.

    New Zealand needs exports because our lifestyle requires imports. It would be nice if we could live on export designs, movies, software. But we are unlikely to earn billions in that manner. Our fate is to produce natural resources. The alternatives to this mine are a slight lowering of our standard of living, or a further ramp-up of our dairy exports. The environmental costs of coal mining are well appreciated. I am not confident that the environmental costs of dairying are. True, open cast mining leaves a permanent wound on the landscape. But Pike River reminded us that underground mining can come at a very high human cost.

  • NGM123

    What about using the $22M to eradicate pests from Great Barrier Island instead?

    (Stewart Island is no doubt a worthy cause, but GB is infinitely more doable !)

    Very similar in a lot of respects to Stewart, small human population, large tracts of native forest, but smaller in size and with a greatly reduced pest problem, only rats I believe? Surely G.B is the next challenge to tackle?

    What surprises me, I never hear anything about G.B pest eradication yet here is a massive Island crying out for restoration that is a walk in the park compared to Stewart Island.
    As hideously ugly as mining the Denniston is especially considering the miniscule compensation, this is a trade off I, & I think many others, could live with.