Saturday, May 25, 2024

Ele Ludemann: Development & environmental protection can co-exist

The government’s draft strategy for mining has resulted in the usual wailing and gnashing of teeth from the usual suspects.

That there’s potential to unlock billions of dollars in much-needed export income matters not to those who look at the world through dark green tinted glasses.

That mining and conservation don’t have to be mutually exclusive escapes them.

That not every inch of the conservation estate is pristine land with high environmental and ecological values needing protection is irrelevant.

To them, mining is an evil that blinds them to the ability to return the land to its natural state when work is completed. Nor are they able to understand the benefits:

Resources Minister Shane Jones has released a draft strategy for mineral mining, aiming to double the sector’s export value to $2 billion by 2035.

One reason Australians have better health treatment options, and survival rates, than we do is the income they earn from mining. Doubling our mining export value would help close that gap.

The strategy led by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment also included boosting the workforce from 5000 to 7000 regional jobs, producing a “critical minerals” list for New Zealand, and completing a stocktake of the country’s mineral potential.

These would be high paying jobs in regions in desperate need of them.

It highlighted areas that could be mined:

The strategy also noted New Zealand’s “significant amounts of different types and grades of coal deposits”, and said it recognised the interests of Treaty partners in the protection and management of mineral resources.

“No longer will these communities with rich histories intertwined with mining be told they cannot utilise the rich mineral endowments contained in their land,” Jones said in a media release.

“My vision is that we change the prevailing mantra about mining to one that doesn’t begin and end with extraction but one that focuses on our mineral needs, economic opportunities, and our ability to deliver on this while benefiting our environment and communities.” . . .

Work at Macraes Mine in East Otago shows how well reparation can be done.

While the Minister was announcing the draft, his parliamentary colleagues were unveiling the first RMA Amendment Bill:

The coalition Government has today introduced legislation to slash the tangle of red and green tape throttling some of New Zealand’s key sectors, including farming, mining and other primary industries.

RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop says the Government is committed to unlocking development and investment while ensuring the environment is protected.

“Resource Management (RM) Bill 1 proposes targeted changes that can take effect quickly and give certainty to councils and consent applicants, while the Government develops new legislation to replace the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA),” Mr Bishop says.

“The Bill will also speed up the process for preparing or amending national direction. The current process for making or amending national direction is unnecessarily onerous, costly, and it takes too long.”

“We are backing our farmers who are world best in producing high-quality, safe produce that is globally sought after. Farming underpins New Zealand’s economy, boosting our GDP, and providing jobs for hundreds of thousands of people,” Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says.

“Improving primary sector profitability is key to remaining competitive internationally and getting value back into farmers back pockets. We are cutting red tape to ensure regulations are fit for purpose and don’t place undue compliance costs on farmers and growers.”

“The Government needs to ensure regulations are fit for purpose and don’t burden producers with unnecessary or unreasonable costs,” Associate Environment Minister Andrew Hoggard says.

“Catchment and farm specific actions are better for managing risks to freshwater.

“That’s why we are working hard to improve the Freshwater Farm Planning system to reduce the cost and complexity and integrate a range of industry and community developed plans.” . . .

Too much existing legislation and too regulatory many practices are based on the mistaken idea that development and environmental protection are mutually exclusive when they can co-exist.

That has resulted in time consuming and expensive consenting processes that have acted like a hand brake on progress.

The new legislation will restore the balance of social and economic factors with environmental ones to the benefit of all three.

Ele Ludemann is a North Otago farmer and journalist, who blogs HERE - where this article was sourced.


Majority said...

“… and said it recognised the interests of Treaty partners in the protection and management of mineral resources.“

Treaty partners??? When will this BS ever end?

Let’s just get on with growing our export earnings for the benefit of ALL New Zealanders.

Anonymous said...

The Greens cannot see that short term effects of mining, or even quarrying for much needed roading projects, are in everyone’s best interests. Reparation of the land can, and does happen, and there is nothing to suggest that fast tracking applications will alter that requirement.

CXH said...

Considering Ngai Tahu burnt most of the South Island to the ground, why would they have any problem with damaging the environment.