Feb 1, 2012

Jones advocates mining

Shane Jones is running an interesting line – a pro-mining line:

The Labour Party says it might come as a revelation to some that not all Maori are opposed to mining and oil drilling.

Maori Economic Development spokesperson Shane Jones says there is a fossilised view that Maori aren't interested or capable of making pragmatic decisions.

While he acknowledges there are been pockets of resistance, Mr Jones says there's a variety of views - not a monolithic one.

He’s right in one respect: there isn’t a singular view. However, I would guess, that the vast, vast majority of Maori oppose mining. Case in point, the almost universal opposition of the East Coast against oil prospecting, let alone oil drilling. In 2010 iwi leaders also rejected government suggestions to mine Maori land and Northland iwi sent a strong message that exploratory miners will be treated as “trespassers”. I think Dayle Takitimu’s open letter to the Maori Party represents Maori feeling well.

It’s interesting to see Shane Jones searching for what he keeps terming “pragmatic” ideas. Jones should be applauded for stepping out, but advocating mining, as I have said previously, runs contrary to Maori values (think kaitiakitanga) and David Shearer’s (read Labour’s) vision for a clean, green and clever economy.

I come back to the idea of hypocrisy. We, as Maori, share a special connection with the land and we like to remind people of this. However, Maori advocacy for mining is out of step with our claims to be the kaitiaki of the land. We cannot, on the one hand, denounce mining as a crime against Papatuanuku, while on the other hand, one of our leaders trumpets mining as a panacea.

Surely other options for economic development exist. For example, aquaculture, like this aquaculture set up in Opotiki, may provide economic growth for Maori on the East Coast. Maori have generations of experience in primary production, therefore, we probably have a competitive advantage when it comes to food production. Aquaculture products, like the sea cucumber which is a sought after delicacy in Chine, are value added products. Any operation on the East Coast would have to deal in value added products as the operation would lack the ability to produce high volumes of product. Therefore, value added products like sea cucumber, lobster/cayfish and so on fit nicely in a low intensity operation.

It isn’t harmful to have a debate about mining. Either way, I think Jones’ idea would be soundly rejected.


  1. Good that you are focusing on hypocrisy Morgan. At least your position is consistent.
    However all Maori disturbing the papatuanuku in Australia making their fortunes in the mining industry there will attest to the benefits of mining.
    Maori need to stop being NIMBYS and embrace the practicality of whether they want a decent standard of living, or keep depriving themselves of the best paid job opportunities available.

  2. Kia ora Morgan,
    Thanks for the heads up in re Jones' position being pro-mining/drilling. Well, well, well.
    Cactus Kate's simplistic retort against the Maori world view in re utilisation of natural resources - ie that Maori working in Australian mines shows how Maori support mining - just doesn't stack up.Dare I say 'Te Whanau Apanui', to me, best represent the tuturu Maori position in re Papatuanuku and our illustrious tipuna Tangaroa. Te Kaha, clearly rocks!
    The Maori imperative is to protect and enhance our kaimoana in the seas off our islands, and to sustainably utilise land-based resources to ensure their availability for future generations of Maori and all NZers.
    The Maori Brown table are itching to get their hands on state-owned assets such as power - Meridian, and coal-producer Solid Energy in my rohe Te Wai Pounamu.
    For an excellent analysis of the relationship between corporate iwi, so-called iwi leaders group and the Crown viz a viz whanau, hapu and iwi I recommend Annette Sykes paper delivered as the Bruce Jesson Foundation memorial lecture in 2010 - available at the BJ Foundation site on-line.
    Thanks Morgan for keeping all of us throughout the motu up to date with the shenanigans in and around the lions den :) Kia kaha, kia manawanui.Best wishes with your studies and other endeavours 2012.
    Cactus Kate is a prickly tory aye bro! Cacti are not indigenous to our island, and have no place in Aotearoa!Root them out, plant Kahikatea!

  3. Not a Tory, else I would be pandering to the likes of yourself and Cacti arrived on a boat similar to the one your ancestors came on, only with better safety regs.

    As for "Maori imperative", what b.s. Maori want to get rich just like everyone else.

    Stop hiding behind mythology and the skirt of my Queen and admit that.

    A progressive like Jones and the "Brown Table" (if they ever do) are going to get you there before Hone's Hooligans.

  4. "However, I would guess, that the vast, vast majority of Maori oppose mining. "

    so that vast vast majority do not drive cars, do not have mobile phones or watch tv ???.. hypo critic nimbys ??...Maori who want all the benefits of mining just as long as its not in my backyard ??

  5. zzz, our planet is in crisis we need to start addressing these issues and hold our hands up and say "Yes we are addicted ...to oil. time to take the green road. We are talking sustainability and balancing the very fragile ecosystem we live, we are part of this system called earth...yep we drive cars ,that dosnt mean to say as a maori i dont have a desire to reduce my carbon foot print or my iwi's THAT is my responsibility and no mining is the call I make ,,we need to look at alternative energys sources...or is that to simple?



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