Green Party co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today that Solid Energy’s troubles were “the best possible result under the circumstances.” Read more »
A reader emails about the tree funeral I blogged about yesterday:
Hi Cam ….
Many years ago, I lived for three years on the West Coast. I have never been able to understand the precious attitude to selective felling of native trees in the area as the re-forestation rate is way, way beyond replacement requirements. In fact, some selective felling would be the equivalent of a good pruning…. and provide a good income !
To mourn one kahikatea tree is ”obsessive behaviour” and would indicate that those involved don’t have balance in their lives !!! Read more »
How about that global warming treating you down south?
Unseasonable snow has joined the wild and wet weather chaos in many parts of New Zealand, particularly the South Island, with holidaymakers stranded and key services knocked out.
Several days of heavy rain compounded yesterday, with the West Coast and Fiordland bearing the brunt of the storm.
In central Otago this morning, an operation is underway to get people out of the Lindis Pass after a heavy snow fall.
The bush and its inhabitants deserve our concern and protection, but at the end of the day people in NZ should be able to work, eat and live in the country, even if according to Gaia we humans are a destructive species that should die out.
One of the last chances for jobs on the West Coast (a SAFE open-cast mine compared to underground mines) is now under attack because there is a possibility that a weta might be threatened.
Environmental lobby Forest & Bird says a new species of cave weta found on the West Coast’s Denniston Plateau is another piece of unique ecology which could be lost if an open-cast coal mine is built there.
Forest & Bird spokesperson Debs Martin said the new species of weta shows there is still more to learn about the ecological system on the plateau, and it’s not yet known what would happen to it if an open-cast mine is built.
Maybe it’s not yet known what will happen to the weta, but it is easy to say what will happen if this and other activity is banned just in case the weta doesn’t like it – the people of the West Coast will be on the bones of their backsides &/or the dole because there are no jobs.
Once again the Greenie wankers stop this country from progressing.
Chris Trotter is holding Labour accountable for Pike River, much more so than National:
[T]his column is written from the Left, so my focus will be on the party of the workers; the party whose founders came from the West Coast pits around Blackball; the party of the coalminers’ trade unions; the party which for nine long years did nothing to prevent the tragedy which, in such a criminally deregulated environment, was only ever a matter of time.
Labour took control of New Zealand’s state apparatus on November 27, 1999, and relinquished it on November 8, 2008.
During that time three Labour MPs held the labour portfolio: Margaret Wilson (1999-2004), Ruth Dyson (2005-07) and Trevor Mallard (2007-08).
All three of these politicians came into Parliament with strong Left-wing credentials.
And all of them, I’m sure, wanted to do only good things for the people they represented.
How, then, are we to explain their inaction? Their failure to impose a state-of-the-art health and safety regime on New Zealand’s coalmining industry?
Throughout the 19th century, the dangers facing workers underground and the disasters which so regularly took their lives provided a powerful moral impetus for labour movements all over the world – including New Zealand’s.
In 2007, workers’ safety campaigner Hazel Armstrong wrote: “The 1890s’ West Coast coalfields have been evocatively described as a ‘slough of despond’.
“They were notoriously hazardous working environments: ‘There’s always blood on the coal’, miners said.”
It’s why the story of Paddy Webb’s 1908 fight for the Blackball miners’ rights became as ingrained as coal-dust in the political memory of Labour Party people.
How could three successive Labour ministers have forgotten so much?
Two of them are still in parliament, perhaps they might to atone by resigning?
There was no appetite in the Clark-led Labour Government for a return to the “heavy-handed” regulations of the past. As the source of rational behaviour, the market was still considered uniquely capable of regulating itself.
Tragically, it has taken the Pike River disaster to expose the fatal falsity of that belief.
Following the royal commission report’s release, Labour leader David Shearer was asked if he thought the deregulatory pendulum had swung too far. He responded by saying that, “the Government needs to be much more hands-on than it has been”.
It is to be hoped that these words reflect a genuine change of heart on Labour’s part, and that the next time they’re in office, Labour politicians will not hesitate to prevent the private sector’s “drive for production” (and profits) from pushing workers’ rights to effective workplace protection off the agenda.
Because if there’s “blood on the coal” at Pike River, Labour helped to put it there.
If anyone is responsible then it falls to Helen Clark and her ministers, from the Labour ministers listed above to the Conservation minister who cared more about two Blue Ducks than 29 miners lives.
Forest & Bird logic at its finest:
So let me get this clear. Forest and Bird continue to block the Escarpment mine but want the government to subsidise the broken Springcreek mine to save the Coasters’ jobs… and it is all the fault of the government.
Hmmm… if the Coasters had somewhere else to work, a more profitable mine, then isn’t it likely they would choose to work there? Do Forest and Bird really think that Coasters will appreciate Forest & Bird’s continued objection to a new employer being set up on the Coast? The Government isn’t standing in the way of the Bathurst project – Forest & Bird are.
This is the sort of silly environmentalism that regional economies can’t handle.
“The Escarpment Mine is an open cast mining project that is ready to go and would provide 225 jobs and incomes for workers and their families on the West Coast straight away,” .
“The developer is being held up from opening the Escarpment Mine by on-going litigation that has gone through the Environment Court, the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
“These on-going objections are to resource consents which were granted more than a year ago. The whole consenting process for this development has now taken a staggering seven years.
“I call on those objectors to the mine to reconsider their appeals and consider the economic future of the West Coast and its people.
“I also call on the EPMU, Labour and the Greens to join my call and back the West Coast community by supporting the immediate development of the Escarpment Mine.
The Opposition and unions are too busy playing politics to really care about the well-being of Coasters. There is a perfectly viable opportunity on their doorstep. Governments should never subsidise job creation schemes as Labour and the Greens would like – especially when there is a perfectly suitable private company willing to set up shop and provide real jobs.
The West Coasters want a bigger slice of the pie:
West Coasters want any increase in coal and goldmining royalties handed back to the district of origin.
Bumping up royalties is among recommendations in a review of the Crown Minerals Act.
The review, which is open for public submission, aims to streamline the regime and ensure better coordination of regulatory agencies.
West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O’Connor said the mining industry had taken enough from the West Coast and it was time it started to pay it back, not take more.
“Before the National Government screws down the mining industry it should give some thought to the local communities who have to pay for and maintain the infrastructures that support it,” he said.
What an absolutely brilliant idea from Damien O’Connor.
In the same vein I’d like to see all the road user tax collected by the region actually spent in the region. That way Auckland would have plenty of cash to fix its roads.
Likewise I’d like to see tax revenue spent according to population too. Fifty per cent of the population live north of Taupo…so let’s have 50% of all government expenditure spent inthe same area.
Damien O’Connor has come up with a brilliant idea.
We have seen Phil Goff have multiple positions on almost everything, sometime he has two different positions in the same sentence. Despite that though Phil’s leadership has strengthened over the Darren Hughes affair so he can be reasonably assured that having multiple positions on anything is helping.
But now he is at it again with his multiple positions on Damien though… yesterday morning O’Connor was just a hothead whose comments would go down well on the west coast.
Labour leader Phil Goff said he had “scolded” Mr O’Connor about the comments, which the MP had told him about, “although … it will probably help him no end on the Coast. He’s a pretty straight talker and he used West Coast language.”
By last night the comments were inappropriate and offensive.
Labour leader Phil Goff says Mr O’Connor has apologised for criticising the team that drew up the party’s list.
“He’s wrong and it was an inappropriate comment for him to make,” he says. “I told him that and he has apologised for making that comment to me and I expect him to repeat the apology that he’s made to me to the caucus.”
However Mr O’Connor doesn’t quite see it that way, even though he says he did say he was sorry to Mr Goff.
“For bringing stress on him and I’ve said that we’ll have a discussion at caucus tomorrow if I’ve offended people by the words I’ve used,” he told Newstalk ZB. “I’m happy to talk then but the substance of the issue and the issue I raised I stand by.”
Mr O’Connor also defended his comments earlier today, saying there is a risk the party will not be seen as representing all of New Zealand.
This morning in the Herald, Damien O’Connor is still defending his actions:
Labour MP Damien O’Connor apologised to his leader, Phil Goff, for causing trouble – but made it clear he stuck by his concern that the party’s direction was driven by “a gaggle of gays and self-serving unionists”.
What I want to know since Damien is sticking by his “unionists and gaggle of gays” comments is if there are any practicing christians in the Labour Party caucus or if they have been totally pushed out by the “gaggle of gays” and self serving unionists?
Meanwhile gay Green MP Kevin Hague is calling on Phil Goff to apologise, not for Damien O’Connor’s comments about gays but for Phil’s insults to West Coasters:
Phil Goff is now being asked to apologise.
Green MP Kevin Hague says he was offended by the Labour leader’s response to Damien O’Connor’s “gaggle of gays” comment, in reference to the party’s list-selection process.
Mr Hague says Phil Goff called the comments an electioneering move, and suggested they would find favour with West Coasters.
“That kind of prejudice about Coasters, is actually wrong. I’m a gay man, I’ve lived here for nearly 10 years and in all of that time, I’ve never experienced a single incident of prejudice and discrimination,” he says.
Mr Hague says Phil Goff should apologise to West Coasters for his comment.
Phil Goff continues the tradition of Labour leaders insulting West Coasters after Helen Clark labelled them as feral and inbred.
It’s a shame that those who preach tolerance of their lifestyle can’t be a bit more tolerant themselves. The “gaggle of gays” certainly don’t appear to be tolerant of good ole boys from the Coast.
Today is Music Monday and so in tribute to the good ole boy from the West Coast here is:
The in-fighting in Labour has begun in earnest after the release of their lack-lustre list.
Labour MP Damien O’Connor has hit out at his party organisation, saying its candidates list was drawn up by “a gaggle of gays and self-serving unionists” who gave “straight shooters” little chance of success.
Damien O’Connor is a genuine good guy. He works hard for a Labour MP and certainly has a great chance of being the only Labour MP to take back a seat from National at the next election. Being frank and up-front about his views will only help that cause.
Mr O’Connor, the electorate candidate for the marginal West Coast-Tasman seat, said he withdrew from the party-list process before the final meeting.
“I wouldn’t trust them. Between a gaggle of gays and some self-serving unionists, I’m not sure that a straight shooter such as myself would be given a fair deal.”
A few others don’t seem to be getting a fair deal either.
What is clear from Labour’s list is that there is definitely no role for straight white males in the modern Labour party especially if they are rooters or even former rooters. Look at Stuart Nash’s listing, one of the stars of the new intake but downgraded below hacks and lackeys probably due to his past inveterate rooting and Iain Lees-Galloway is paying dearly for his stenographer rooting. The sisterhood frowns on this behaviour and they have long memories.
Stuart Nash hasn’t a prayer against Chris Tremain, he should really have a crack at Tukituki where a solid red blooded male will go well against a guy in a gay ute. I’d even think about helping him with his campaign there.
Phil Twyford, another straight white male who got slammed on the list. Phil Goff says:
people were chosen for their skills rather than backgrounds
What does that say about the skills of Phil Twyford then who hasn’t been wanted in 4 seats and now cops a demotion on the list? He isn’t from a union background and is straight and white….down the list you go fella. That is of course a lie because as Danyl at DimPost points out:
If I were leading a party that was seen as out of touch and unable to communicate with the public I’d try and talent-search my new MPs from somewhere other than my communications staff.
He is of course talking about the rapid rise of Deb Mahuta-Coyle.