Russel Norman, jobs and mining

On Backbenches last night (not yet online) the first question put to Russel Norman was on the proposed opening up of  mining in Northland, and related jobs for the highly unemployed far north.

Norman didn’t answer directly, but his response made it clear about his priorities – he thought the long term “need” to leave mineral resources untouched in the ground outweighed what he called short term jobs.

Mining and Drilling

There is Green policy and campaigning on stopping and preventing mining, stopping fracking and preventing drilling.

On Lignite:

It makes no sense to destroy valuable farmland to dig up coal that harms our 100% Pure brand. Instead, we need to invest in jobs and a vision to create a future which we all can enjoy.

So they want to stop and prevent some job opportunities. Where are the Green jobs going to come from?


Jobs were one of the big three Green campaign issues in the 2011 election.

Our plan will create 100,000 new jobs through direct government investment in housing, by ensuring our state-owned energy companies capture the massive export opportunities in the renewable energy sector, and, most importantly, by shifting the drivers for green jobs in the private sector.

From 100,000 green jobs for New Zealanders:

How we’re going to do it
Our plan is detailed and fully-costed. It includes plans for direct government investment, building sustainable infrastructure, supporting the greening of our small and medium enterprises (SMEs), driving innovation, introducing smarter
regulation, getting the prices of resources and pollution right, protecting our brand, reforming capital markets, making our workplaces fairer, and measuring progress differently.

Here are three of the highlights:

  • Direct investment
    We will ramp-up the Heat Smart home insulation programme ensuring it is rolled out to a further 200,000 homes over the next three years, costing $350 million and employing 4,000 people directly — 10,400 if you include indirect and upstream employment effects.
  • Keep it Kiwi
    We will retain ownership of our state-owned enterprises while creating the right incentives for them to partner with clean tech entrepreneurs in the private sector and develop renewable energy solutions that we can patentand export abroad. With the right incentives in place, if we can capture just 1% of the global market for renewable energy solutions, we’ll create a$6 to $8 billion export industry employing 47,000–65,000 people in new green jobs.
  • Support for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
    Through a mix of government procurement policies, tax incentives, startup funding, and a $1 billion boost to R&D funding, we’ll support SMEs to step up and drive new job creation in the cleantech sector.

The Heat Smart home insulation programme has already been going for the past few years. They don’t say if the jobs they claim will be created are additional, nor how likely they are to happen. It depends on availability of resources, and the willingness of people to install insulation.

“If we can capture just 1% of the global market” – if. Wishing doesn’t make it happen. National has discovered how hard it is to improve the job market.

Green solutions seem to be to stop some industries (like mining and drilling), pour money into creating jobs that may or may not eventuate, and may or may not provide a return on the investment.

At the same time they want to increase the costs for many businesses – farming is the most important industry we have, Greens want them to pay more for emissions, more for water, and more tax. They haven’t “detailed and fully-costed” the effects of this.

There’s no doubt the Green Party provides an important “voice” in Parliament. It’s good to be made aware of and debate the issues they raise.

The big question facing voters is how much Green do we want? This especially important when viewd alongside the continued weakness and turmoil in Labour.

What if our next Government is one third Green? Something around there is quite likely, unless Lanbour miraculously sees what it’s been doing wrong and reforms and rebuilds.

What if our Government is one half Green? That’s probably a stretech for 2014, but that’s a long way away.

It’s quite likely we could see a more balanced combination of Labour, New Zealand First and Greens.

We need to at least start seriously considering the likley effect of a Green Associate Finance Minister and a Green Minister of the Environment. Minister of Transport?

Greens have until now been more of an interesting sideline. To date Labour have managed to keep them out of Government, and Greens won’t go in to Government with National.

But our next Government could be the first time we see a significant Green component. There are competent Green MPs, but none have any experience about the reality of being in Government.

How Green a government can we risk? Alongside a weak Labour and a more inexperienced NZ First?

The next election will be interesting.

Leave a comment


  1. Cynthia Nozick

     /  5th November 2012

    Home insulations that are made of spray foam are always great. ..

    Remember to inspect our very own internet page


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