National is trying to get Dotcom and large job losses off the headlines.
Amy Adams, with her Minister for the Environment hat on, was called to an emergency meeting yesterday evening with Steven Joyce and others to discuss pushing through the proposed Bathhurst mine on the west coast, and making other changes to the RMA.
Bereft of policies to deal with our overvalued exchange rates and aware of rising discontent on export job losses and record numbers going to Australia, they are desperate to get out of the headlights.
Having lost ingloriously on their earlier plans to mine National Parks, they turned to selling SOEs as the major part of their economic plan for this term. Now the wheels have fallen off that, its back to mining.
Mining has a proper place outside National Parks and other schedule 4 areas. It of course raises environmental issues under the RMA and mineral legislation that can only be dealt with on a case by case basis. This has long been Labour’s policy, and despite Steven Joyce’s attempts to misrepresent it, still is.
Because of their woes, National is trying to blame others.
Rumour has it they discussed empowering legislation to either override normal rules or speed up the process for the Bathhurst mine.
I don’t know where they ended with that, but it has led to the proposal to limit resource consent process times to six months for major projects. Given that mining has gone off the boil (in part because of an inflated NZ dollar), this change will do little to improve the economy.
Once again, National’s economic plan can be seen to be inadequate. They have put off limits pro-growth tax reform, universal workplace savings and changes to monetary policy under the Reserve Bank, all steps that exporters say would help them export and create jobs.
As they lurch from scandle to bungle – tea tapes, ACC, John Key’s electorate chairman on NZ on Air/the Broadcasting Commission interfering politically, pokie machines for convention centres, the budget centre piece (larger class sizes to improve student outcomes!), Banks’ campaign donations, Dotcom, SOE sales derailed – they are losing the confidence of the country.