John Minto thinks that the people “have had their say” on mining, and the answer is no.
Congratulations to Greenpeace and the other environmental groups which organised the huge anti-mining march in Auckland on the weekend.
Up to 50,000 people took part in the biggest protest in New Zealand for a long time and in the process should have given the government food for thought.
The country has spoken and rejects the crass attempts at changing the law so companies can extract profits by despoiling heritage areas of New Zealand.
The funny thing is, last time the country actually had their say on a specific issue, he rubbished their view (and managed to work in a plug for higher taxes).
Last week’s referendum result was predictable. After a long campaign of misinformation and a loaded, misleading question the referendum on smacking was won by the pro-smacking lobby.
They celebrated in style at a flash hotel in Auckland, raising their glasses to the right to hit their kids without the state interfering. They lacked the courage to put the more honest question to the electorate: “Should parents be able to hit their kids without fear of prosecution?” They would have lost that one.
Funny how the “yes” vote never could make their point without resorting to defamation.
It’s not like there wasn’t room for the “they fooled the people” card in the mining debate.
The protest groups have been accused of wilfully ignoring the facts and were described as “emotional blackmailers” by mining industry spokesperson Doug Gordon, who says, for example, that only 0.02 per cent of the Coromandel is being considered for mining.
…Gordon says mining will contribute to our living standards and that industry wages are considerably above national income averages. Both points are true but these benefits are tiny compared with the devastation. We can increase our standards of living far more by preserving these areas and promoting tourism. And mining also employs far fewer people for every dollar invested than does tourism.
On these protests there’s always a lot of creative talent evident – much of it unflattering to the miner’s man Gerry Brownlee.
One sign summed it up for many. “I can’t believe I’m still having to march against this s**t.” Many thought the battle against mining our heritage was won a generation ago but rust never sleeps and neither does the glint of profit in the eye of a multinational.
So what is it John, does the people’s say matter or not?