31, Oct, 2013

How to Vote on THE VOTE ------------ Mining Industry vs. Environmentalists

Category: News



New Zealand faces a stark choice on its path to prosperity. Do we protect our 100% Pure brand and ride the wave of a global clean-tech revolution? Or do we back a growing energy industry that will create jobs, raise wages and keep some of our best and brightest from seeking a better life across the Tasman? Is it clean, green or black gold?

On November 6, The Vote asks whether New Zealand needs to "drill baby drill!" Two teams led by Duncan Garner and Guyon Espiner will argue the moot „New Zealand needs more mining‟ in TV3‟s national debate programme, screening at 8.30pm Wednesday 6 November. Broadcaster and lawyer, Linda Clark is referee, charged with keeping the debaters in line and on topic.

The National-led Government has championed the oil, gas and minerals sector, arguing New Zealand is blessed with mineral resources and on the cusp of a boom. Petroleum exploration and development has been worth a phenomenal $8.3 billion in the past six years alone. Already our fourth biggest export earner, the potential for growth is huge; this summer is due to be one of the busiest ever with 13 exploratory wells to be drilled offshore, 27 onshore and new mines close to being approved. And each operation promises more jobs, more wealth to the regions.

But critics say that‟s not 21st century thinking and we can‟t gamble our environment and economy on coal mines and deep-sea drilling that see profits flood offshore and local communities left to carry the can of pollution and inequality. A summer of protest is being planned. Though millions could be made, just one catastrophic spill could cost billions to clean up. And what about the damage fossil fuels are doing to the planet? Better to leave it in the ground and grow a green economy, rather than risk our agriculture and tourism for the boom and bust of a gold rush.
The Vote will put these arguments to the test. Who pockets the profits? Is the return worth the risk? And is the risk to our land and sea as bad as some claim? Are we missing out on the chance to become the Norway of the South Pacific – a country known for its pristine environment but still rolling in petrodollars?

The coin toss has determined Duncan Garner will lead the affirmative team arguing in favour of more mining. He will be joined by: Hamish Bohannan, CEO of Bathurst Resources which is planning to mine on the Denniston plateau; Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn; and lobbyist David Robinson, CEO of the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand.
Guyon Espiner will lead the negative team making the case against more mining, with Green Party co-leader Russel Norman; Greenpeace New Zealand‟s Managing Director Bunny McDiarmid and Gisborne District councillor Manu Caddie.

Duncan, arguing FOR the moot, says: “New Zealand has a pretty exemplary record when it comes to mining and drilling. So far, so good, but we can learn from past disasters round the world and look for opportunities on and offshore in New Zealand.
“Just think about the wealth that can be created for our kids. To say "no more mining", to throw up our hands and say it‟s all too hard is to sabotage wage growth and sell New Zealand – and New Zealanders – short.”

Guyon will argue AGAINST the moot. “If the choice is pursuing the energy of the future or digging up the past then the answer is the same as for anyone who finds themselves in a hole: stop digging,” he says.

“The government backed off last time they tried to open the conservation estate for more mining and I expect Kiwis will vote a similar way on The Vote.

“We are not saying no mining – we‟re just saying no to more mining. Our precious environment is too valuable – in all senses of that word – to be dug up and polluted, especially when the profits largely end up in foreign hands and the long term benefits for New Zealand are minimal. “

FOR – Led by Duncan Garner

 Hamish Bohannan has over 35 years‟ experience in many different areas of the global mining industry, working in Africa, Australia, the USA and New Zealand, and has won awards for environmental excellence. Hamish would like to see New Zealand‟s the mineral wealth turned into “real returns for the nation.”

 Tony Kokshoorn, a born and bred West Coaster, has been the Grey District Mayor since 2004, and is deeply involved in the community. A passionate lobbyist for economic development on the Coast, and a firm believer in buying NZ Made, Tony backs striving for energy independence, through using our own coal.

 David Robinson is Chief Executive Officer of PEPANZ (the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand) and a champion for the industry. Previously he‟s worked as General Manger of Z Energy‟s commercial business and a Director of Shell New Zealand. David wants to leave his kids a country that is both environmentally and economically viable, and condemns Greenpeace‟s recent report into oil spills as “science fiction.”

Against – Led by Guyon Espiner

 Dr Russel Norman is the Co-leader of the Green Party and a passionate advocate of a clean economy. Having worked in a sheet metal factory, on a car assembly line, doing native bush regeneration, as a tutor and on an organic farm, he‟s not a career politician. He fears more mining and drilling will put our clean green environment – and brand – at risk and condemn our children to “out of control climate change.”

 Bunny McDiarmid is a long-time Greenpeace member who started as a deckhand on board the original Rainbow Warrior, and is now the executive director of Greenpeace New Zealand. Bunny is a passionate campaigner for investment in clean energy over mining. She believes that if we were willing to back our own clean energy expertise we could build a “cleaner economy built by Kiwis, for Kiwis, and the profits would actually stay in New Zealand.”

 Manu Caddie is a Resource Management Act Commissioner and second-term Councillor from Gisborne. Manu has been a vocal advocate for locals who feel ignored when it comes to drilling for oil around his beloved East Cost. Kiwis deserve a say, he argues: “The petroleum industry says they have nothing to hide, so why would the government want to deny Kiwis the right to make a submission on any proposal to drill…?”

The Vote is competitive current affairs – a monthly series of entertaining and informative national debates on the big issues facing New Zealanders. The debates take place in theatres with audience participation and voting, but the opinion that matters most is that of the audience watching at home.

Viewers are encouraged to vote for free at, via Twitter @TheVoteNZ and Facebook at The Vote NZ. Viewers can also text their vote by texting "Yes" or "No" to 3920 at a cost of 20 cents per text.

The Vote is produced by TV3‟s News and Current Affairs division with funding from NZ On Air, and screens once every four weeks in the same timeslot as 3rd Degree.
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3rd Degree presents ‘The Vote’.
Wednesday 6 November, 8.30pm on TV3.
For further information please contact:
Rachel Lorimer
Group Communications Manager
021 436 503

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