Bernie Napp, the senior policy analyst from Straterra, attempted to dismiss comments from Green MP Julie Anne Genter, however the obvious duplicity revealed in his letter to the Southland Times is almost farcical.
I would like to correct Green MP Julie Anne Center on her bizarre claim that no mining town in New Zealand has ever enjoyed benefits (Mataura split on mining benefits, January 25).
In 2010 the New Zealand Insti- tute of Economic Research report- ed that the median wage for a mining employee, including in oil and gas, was $57,320 in 2008, compared to the New Zealand median of $33,530.
It is wrong to use Waihi as an example of a mining town because people in that industry in Waihi also live at Waihi Beach, Katikati and elsewhere.
Consider also the benefits to users of resources.
As matters stand, New Zealand gas and coal are essential inputs into the dairy, wood and timber processing, horticulture and other industries. Indeed, if there were no energy and minerals, whether imported into or produced in New Zealand, there would be no hospi- tals, no transport, no schools, no electricity, no food, no clothing, no phones.
Seen this way, the benefits of mining to society are infinite.
Senior policy analyst
My reply (after advice I have made some changes to the original letter that appeared here, apparently I can't suggest a deliberate intent to mislead on Bernie's part) :
It concerns me that someone writing on behalf of Straterra should attempt to misinform the Mataura people regarding the benefits of lignite mining. It is stated on Straterra’s own website that “We believe in engaging in a fair, reasonable and transparent way, to promote informed debate on resource sector issues”, yet Bernie Napp’s letter (January 26) was very misleading.
For Mr Napp to imply that Waihi Beach and Katikati could be considered mining towns was a bit of a stretch when the obvious reason why some miners may choose to live in those places is because they would prefer not live in the actual mining town of Waihi. I challenge Mr Napp to name some prosperous New Zealand towns that have achieved average to above prosperity directly through mining coal or lignite.
By exaggerating the incomes that could be expected from lignite mining by including those from the much wealthier gas and oil industries was very misleading. This would provide unreasonable expectations of the benefits of accessing one of the lowest grade energy sources in existence.
Finally, it was disingenuous of Mr Napp to imply that opponents of the proposed lignite mining were against all mining. Our major concerns relate particularly to the mining of lignite and Solid Energy actively blocking public submissions. The lack of reasonable assurances regarding the capture of carbon emissions, the risks to water quality and the potential loss of over 3,000 hectares of productive farmland (that Solid Energy currently owns) are also concerns.
Those who currently live close to the existing Newvale Mine suffer from constant noise and the bright lights at night and as the mines expand so will the number of people affected.
Let’s have more honesty and transparency please.