There has been a bit of comment yesterday and today (including from Guyon Espiner on TV1) that Gerry Brownlee “over-reached” himself when it came to the mining of Schedule 4 land. I certainly think that Gerry failed miserably to sell the policy, but its a bit harsh to blame him for over-reaching when we have this from the John Key’s opening statement to Parliament in February this year.
Notwithstanding the public consultation process, it is my expectation that the Government will act on at least some of these recommendations and make significant changes to Schedule 4. This is because new mining on Crown land has the potential to increase economic growth and create jobs.
That is an unequivocal commitment to major changes to Schedule 4 and to new mining. Gerry was only acting with that in mind. I still think that by the time they got to announcing anything they planned to use Great Barrier as a bit of a stalking horse, but the initial blush of enthusiasm was very much John Key’s. Which is why it was so interesting he tried to get as far away as possible from this policy disaster today.
As an aside in Parliament today the pressure of this and the industrial relations package was telling on Mr Key. He got very side-tracked by interjections, launched into Darren about his hair (he may have a point on that score ) and at one stage totally tossed his toys and sat down in the middle of an answer. Tough day at the office.