Brownlee’s secret plan to mine 90% of Rakiura National Park

Radio NZ revealed on April 24 that Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee and Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson signed a document in February that would have allowed mining on 467,517 hectares of conservation land including 90% of Rakiura National Park on Stewart Island.

The Government consultation document that was eventually released to the public in March only identified 7,000 hectares of conservation land for mining. Those 7,000 hectares are ecologically sensitive areas that have gold and coal lying below the surface. Plans to mine the Coromandel and Great Barrier Island have already caused splits in the National Party with Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye coming out against the plan to mine Great Barrier.

“Sexy coal,” is how Brownlee describes mining Paparoa National Park on the South Island’s west coast but Greenpeace activists and actresses Lucy Lawless and Robyn Malcolm are less than impressed with this. In an online video they snuggle up to a bank of coal to draw attention to “sexy fossil fuels”.

It’s not just Lawless that’s upset about the mining plans. Two Christchurch eleven year olds stood outside their school gate for a week to collect more than 350 signatures on a no mining petition. 48% of New Zealanders are opposed to mining conservation lands but this number could rise as the public realises the full extent of the Nats plans for mining on conservation lands.

The 467,517 hectares the Nats originally wanted to mine is no postcard on a rugby field. It’s an area roughly twice the size of the European nation of Luxembourg or roughly half the size of Lebanon. Concerned Kiwis should heed the Environmental Defence Society’s warning that the 7,000 hectares is just the tip of the Nats mining plans.

35,000 people gathered in Bolivia in April at the People’s Conference on Climate Change to begin building a global movement for an audacious 50% cut in developed countries greenhouse gas emmissions by 2020. This century we face global sea levels rising more than 6 feet and 40% of the world’s population facing severe water shortages if we fail to keep temprature rises below 1.3 degrees. And a million species are threatened with extinction over the next 50 years if we fail to keep tempratures below 2 degrees.The Bolivian President Evo Morales spelled out humanity’s current predicament in stark terms, “We have two paths: either capitalism dies or Mother Earth dies. Either capitalism lives or Mother Earth lives.”

Download the pdfs of the May anticapitalist from Socialist Aotearoa and read articles on Avatar and Bougainville, Thailand and Kyrgyztan, the economic crisis and JB Hi-Fi strikes.

Pages one and two | Pages three and four

2000 copies of this issue were distributed at the anti-mining march in Auckland by Socialist Aotearoa activists.


Read the April Anticapitalist here.
Articles on John Key's brighter future, $15hr campaign, Telecom, Beneficiary bashing, Palestine and the NZ Superfund, Waihopai trial and a map of the local environmental crisis.


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