The Economist Magazine slams NZ mining

The Economist has criticised the Government's decision to mine on protected land as part of an article lashing the country's green credentials.

Labour leader Phil Goff says the article, in an international magazine, showed the negative impact the decision was having and in Government Labour would reverse it.

The Government has proposed removing 7058 hectares from the protected status of schedule four of the Crown Minerals Act including Great Barrier Island, parts of the Coromandel and in Paparoa National Park on the West Coast.

The online article said opening up conservation land to mining was something the dwarves in the Hobbit might like but "is not popular with more elvish sensibilities".

"Energetic lobbying by environmental groups forced it to scale back the amount of land under consideration, but on March 22nd it announced that it still intended to open 7000 hectares of conservation land to mining, with other conservation areas to be surveyed for their mineral potential."

The article listed the move as one of several detrimental steps the Government was taking.

The article picked up on remarks in an earlier Guardian column criticising New Zealand for Greenwash over its 100 percent pure marketing claims while it continued to increase greenhouse gas emissions.

The Economist article acknowledged there had been improvements in some areas and saw the emissions trading scheme and global initiative on reducing agricultural greenhouse-gas emissions as positives.

"From an environmentalist’s perspective, though, these positives are outweighed by much larger negatives."

The article criticised elements of the ETS and the mining proposals.

"In many ways, the dilemma New Zealand faces is no different to that of other rich countries— how to balance economic growth with the need to address environmental degradation. But it is particularly acute in a country so dependent on the export of commodities and landscape-driven tourism. The difference between New Zealand and other places is that New Zealand has actively sold itself as'100 percent Pure'.

"Now that New Zealanders themselves are acknowledging the gap between the claim and reality, and the risk to their reputation this poses, it is time for the country to find itself a more sustainable brand, and soon."

Labour leader Phil Goff is visiting Great Barrier Island today to talk to the people there about their concerns.

He told NZPA that the mining would have a negative impact on New Zealand's reputation internationally as the article showed. The Tourism Research Institute had already highlighted that problem and most of the tourism industry opposed the idea.

"The plan is likely to be picked up by international media and there will be fall out... It may already have damaged New Zealand's reputation."

Mr Goff said Prime Minister John Key was happy with less than 100 percent pure.

"I'm not. If he takes these sensitive and important environmental areas that are currently protected out of schedule four we will put them back in."

The tourism industry was worth $22 billion, employed 185,000 people was a was long-term and sustainable and mining was not.

"He is damaging that industry for a short-term boom and bust few thousand job creation of the mineral industry -- it doesn't stack up environmentally and it doesn't stack up economically either."

Great Barrier got 50,000 visitors a year and tourism operators there were worried, he said.

"I think they get about 3 grams of gold for every tonne of ore, so what is going to happen to the millions of tonnes of ore they extract on Great Barrier, where does it go, what happens to the toxic tailings?"

Mr Key yesterday said there would be no open cast mining on Great Barrier Island or in the Coromandel.

"New Zealand's land mass is just under 27 million hectares and maybe, at most, 7000ha might be taken out of schedule four," Mr Key said.

"That's unlikely to turn back the 747s heading for New Zealand...and if it was going to have such a disastrous impact, can someone explain why we had a record number of tourists last year while there were 82 mines operating in the conservation estate -- with 74 of those permits granted by the Labour government," he said.

Mr Key acknowledged none of the 82 were in schedule four land, protected because of its high conservation value. He parried questions by asking MPs whether they thought any of the 82 mines should be closed down.

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18 Comments & Questions

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So what did the Economist recommend, borrow more, put everyone on welfare or employed by the state and other Labour based policies?


The economist hijacked by the greenies. The greenies want to tax everyone else to oblivion and use the money for welfare dependancy under the direction of champagne socialist leaders. Anything to advance the country not via their dictatorship of the underclass is a threat. Way to go economist magazine.


The only way to extract all the minerals from the ground is to open cast mine like the aussies.

Pike River Coal has demonstrated that "surgical cut mining" is not nearly as efficient. They listed years ago on the market for $1 - their share price currently sits at 90 cents.

Tunneling leaves a huge amount of minerals locked in the rock that forms the walls, ceiling and floor of the tunnel.

To think NZ will extract enormous amounts of wealth from this method versus Australia who dig up everything is ludicrous and illustrates the illogical thinking that is taking place behind closed doors in National.

(I helped vote these clowns in)


When has the economist got anything right?


Well for one, they should have recommended if your revenue does not cover your expenses then you shouldn't be doing "tax cuts"!!


Who wrote The Economist story?


Given the economist magazine seems to suggest that we should just leave all these commodities in the earth, I am sure they will be brutal with their view on Australia who have been plundering their natural resources for decades.

The Economist magazine seems to view NZ as the Shire, and we are meant to quietly go about our way, milking cows and drinking ale, while conveniently ignoring the destruction in Isengard, just across the Tasman.


Why does a guy like that be given media space on anything?his thirty years of living off the public purse has produced nothing in fact a GREAT BIG DO-NOT.


The Economist is a lefty mag in disguise. They spout dribble consistently.


Really? Did they "slam" mining? It was 'buried' in the 7th paragraph and just one of many points the writer was making. Way to sensationalise things. Would not have thought the NBR would do that. Realise it's from the NZPA who generally have no concept of journalism but surely the NBR can control its own headlines???

And Goff's comments... How that guy can say the things he does and keep a straight face is beyond me. How about the huge increase in coal mining under Labour Phil? Was that 100% pure?


The Economist lost all credibility years ago. Now just a second rater that has to try to generate controversy like this in desparation for sales.


Seriously??? So is Phil Goff going to outlaw dairying since THAT's the main contributor to spoiling our "clean, green" image. And frankly, theres nothing like a bit of Labour's politics to spoil millions of dollars of input from companies going ahead with mining plans and employing people only to pull it all out from under them later... nice one Phil!


if it was about mining then fine. but, its about exploration of a nuclear site (or 2). goff is party to this. it's all a deception to get the public squabbling while the real crap goes on behind the scenes. why do u think the ETS is being preserved people. wake up!!!!!!


What the New-Zealand Prime Minister is doing is awful, it takes hundreds years for the ecosystem to recover from the mining activity and there is no way the tourism operators in the affected areas won't suffer. The government is damaging the tourism industry for a long term, while supposedly they are the ones to protect it....

Andrew, <a rel="follow" href="">Niagara Falls Hotels</a>


When are we going to learn to value our planet over our need for unnecessary mining. In the long term it will place all living beings at risk. Disappointing to say the least!

Matt Kent
<a href="">Trade Show Displays</a>


I like the Economist magazine and have been subscribing to it for years. They do a good job of covering world events and news. Usually I agree with them, but sometimes they completely miss the boat... and this is one of them! Scott, <url="">Pinnacle TradeShow Displays</url>


Just as a followup to my comment above, I spent two weeks traveling through New Zealand and LOVED it. I saw lots of beautiful landscape, but never, ever saw any mining. The argument that mining will effect tourism seems a bit far-fetched to me. Scott, <a href="">Pinnacle TradeShow Displays</a>
PS. I guess I must be one of those people who the Economist are calling Hobbits. :)


Trade Show Displays: <url></url>


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