Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 1: First broken promise

It’s only the first working day for the current National-led Government and already they’ve broken a promise. Is Day One too early to say “I told you so”?

John Key’s government promised that the New Zealand public would have a say on any significant mines on conservation land, but they’ve decided to allow an open-cast coal mine on the Denniston Plateau without the promised public consultation. Not surprisingly, Forest & Bird, New Zealand's leading conservation group, is not impressed.

Forest & Bird Conservation Advocate Nicola Vallance said, “It is very cynical that [the government] waited until the first day back in office before telling the public they will be shut out of standing up for their natural heritage.” She’s right, of course, but it’s only the first of many such broken promises we’ll see over the next three years.

Vallance noted this move “will allow Australian-owned Bathurst Resources to dig up over 160 hectares of the Denniston Plateau without an opportunity for the public to have a say about conservation concerns. This would be the biggest open-cast coal mine on New Zealand’s conservation estate.” Let’s see: Mining on conservation land, enriching foreign corporations—yep, ticks two of National’s highest priorities, all while ignoring the people of New Zealand, as they prefer to do.

This will be a very long three years.

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