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May 15, 2017 | by  | in Politics |
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The Party Line

On May 2 it was revealed the Government has plans that would see an expansion of mining on the West Coast. Two coal mines are planned at Whareatea West and Deep Creek on the Denniston Plateau — an area with extremely high conservation value. In an interview with TVNZ Simon Bridges said “there is very significant economic value in the Buller Plateau from a coal mining perspective.” Should coal mining be allowed on conservation land? Does the economic value outweigh the lost conservation value?

Greens at Vic

The Green Party is absolutely opposed to the expansion of mining on New Zealand’s valued conservation land. This decision clearly demonstrates just how willing the National Party is to sacrifice our native plant life and threatened species to line the pockets of private development interests. The intrinsic value of the Denniston Plateau’s unique ecosystem reaches far beyond short-term economic gain. Once this important piece of New Zealand’s heritage is gone — it is gone forever.

Coal is a terrible economic investment. It’s value is only becoming more volatile as renewable energy offers cleaner and cheaper alternatives. Simon Bridges pretending that this will bring economic prosperity to the West Coast showcases just how entrenched the National Party is in their tired economics and 19th century thinking. We have to invest in smarter alternatives to provide the West Coast with meaningful and prosperous economic opportunities that last more than a generation.

— Kayden Briskie

Young Nats — Lower North Island

The National Party and the Young Nats proudly value sustainable development of our environment. We recognise the need to develop and grow our economy to raise living standards, create jobs, and have more to spend on social programs, however also understand that this must balanced by conservation and protection of our natural environment.

We believe that existing regulatory frameworks provide for the right balance in the case above and trust that the Ministers, Ministries, and public servants involved will make the right decision based on the complete and more detailed information.

The National Party has made protecting our native environment a priority, with policies such as Predator Free 2050, countless miles of marine sanctuary, and a commitment to expanding protected status to more of New Zealand. The key is to strike a balance and the National Government is doing just that.

— Sam Stead

Vic Labour

Opening up areas of the beautiful West Coast to coal mining is a short-sighted and poorly thought-out plan by the current National Government. In 2017, we should be focusing our efforts on clean and renewable energy — an industry that is booming in some parts of the world and something we should get behind. It’s time the government started putting the planet, and our people, ahead of profit. Economic opportunities can be found better invested into other modes of energy production.

Energy production via New Zealand’s abundant water, sun, and wind channels has the potential to create many jobs, without resorting to dirty sources of energy from centuries past. Aotearoa prides itself on its clean and green image, but by opening up precious areas of conservation land to dig for and then burn fossil fuels, we are taking a step in the wrong direction.

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About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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