Homepaddock presents an eminently sensible view:
It’s too much to hope that the discussion will be calm and reasoned when the hysteria preceded the announcement.
But those who take the time to read the media release will find that no-one is suggesting digging up vast tracts of the conservation estate.
John Armstrong hints at rough times ahead for the Government:
In selecting pockets of land in the Coromandel and on Great Barrier, it has chosen to fight on territory where the conservation lobby and its arguments are at their strongest.
Our "friends" at Red Alert are naturally complaining:
If you are a country where people really treasure and value the environment around them, and you sell yourself and your products/ideas to the world as being ‘clean and green’ (even though you know you could do a little better), what is about the silliest thing you could do?
That’s right, start mining the National Parks. Of course the spin is that this is only 7000ha, but the plans are there to do much more. They will also say it is just like what has happened before. Except its not. They are changing the law and removing land from the protection of Schedule 4. Putting a bit in does not make up for the damage of taking the land out.
The Dom-Post prefers to comment on splits within National:
However, Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye spoke out yesterday against proposals to allow mining on 705 hectares of Great Barrier Island.
"My personal view is that when environmental and economic factors are taken into account, and given the island's status in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, mining on Great Barrier Island doesn't stack up. I'll be strongly advocating that position to my colleagues in the Government."
She had not yet discussed the issue with other caucus members.
And we've saved the best for last. Cactus Kate is usually quotable, and today is no exception:
Rather than slashing government spending John Key now has declared he has a plan. A master plan to prove he doesn't just "smile and wave" but is a leader.
Mining and whaling.
I am not opposed in principle to either activity. Problem is not all voters are as rational and level-headed as I am especially about these highly emotive "green" issues. If they were Rodney Hide would be Prime Minister trying to control an out of control Sir Roger Douglas, not plotting leadership coups but in his role as Minister of Finance running amok for good cause with the nation's finances.
The brains trust in the National Party inner circle have decided that mining and whaling (and an increase in GST) will upset the public less than slashing government spending. Perhaps they are right. But I am willing to bet they are not.
Because the New Zealand voting public are not rational beasts.
Witness - we have a Green Party and a Maori Party. One party that represents the rights of birds and trees and the other that purports to represent an entire race of people over others. That's not rational.
We couldn't agree more with Cactus on this one.
Bear in mind that this is merely a sampling of opinion. There does however seem to be, as we said earlier, a clear divide with little to no middle ground. Doubtless the Government has taken the likely level of opposition into account before announcing yesterday's decision. We know that there will be opposition, and we hope that last week's jury verdict in Wellington doesn't send a few tree-huggers over the top in their protests, believing that what they do is for the greater good. Right at the moment, we can't think of ANY greater good than New Zealand's economic future.