Something actually quite sensible from Gareth Morgan

Gareth Morgan has written something that is actually quite sensible. He talks about the Denniston decision and why the green taliban will never be happy.

The Denniston Plateau deal shows that National and the mining industry have learned their lesson from their last attempt to mine on conservation land.

Sure, it was a tad cynical of the Government to make this latest decision the day before the rules on public notification changed. However, the basic thrust of the plan is sound: the money generated from harming one part of the conservation estate can be used to make the rest better.

Overall, if the Government?s plan comes off, we will be left with a better conservation estate. In a time of limited budgets and pressing conservation priorities, such deals make sense.?

It does make sense and it is a great deal. National’s policy should be Drill it, Mine it, Sell it = Jobs.

But for those who don?t accept degradation of the environment at any price ? welcome to the wilderness of irrelevance, where have you been since humankind emerged 200,000 years ago. The issue is how the hell do we minimise such degradation given humankind?s insatiable desire for material aggrandisement.

?Stop? is not an alternative that society is ready to accept.

But that is exactly what the Greens want us to do…that is where their “Keep the Coal in the Hole” slogan comes from.

While conservationists naturally don?t like the concept of having to put a price on our natural capital, the reality is jobs and incomes matter, and if the govern-ment of the day feels extractive industries are the best way to provide those, the challenge for those who disagree is to prove otherwise. Until they can, extractive industries will continue to grow.

Our only regret with the Denniston decision is that DoC didn?t manage to get $50 million as the offset. That would have funded the whole of the Stewart Island pest eradication and we?d have a great time proving which project ? the mine or the World Heritage site ? was the better boon to jobs and incomes!

We need to show that the jobs and income consequences of protecting, enhancing and monetising our natural capital are greater than those of digging the next mine. That?s the challenge.

A challenge the Greens fail.

So how unique is the Denniston Plateau compared to the rest of New Zealand? Those who make claims of the plateau being ?priceless? or ?irreplaceable? either have no skin in the game (nothing to lose) or find making trade-offs intellectually impossible, so simply advocate abolition of extraction.

Easy for outsiders to oppose something in principle and not get sullied with the choices faced in the real world by those who have to actually go without as a consequence. We suggest they will need to keep chaining themselves to trees to make their point. When they come down they may find that everyone else has left the country in search of a job.

Green jobs is a fantasy. Russel Norman needs to show some real, tangible job success rather than wishful thinking.