Audience votes no to mining during tv debate

By Laura Mills

Tv audiences last night voted against any more mining in New Zealand — and the Green Party said they would not allow the Bathurst open-cast mine at Denniston to proceed if it was in power.
TV3 show The Vote spent one hour hearing the arguments for and against mining. Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn and Bathurst Resources chief executive Hamish Bohannan were pitted against Greenpeace and Green Party co-leader Russel Norman.
Mr Norman said if the Greens were in power, he would call a moratorium on new mining, and stop Bathurst.
He said the West Coast got a $120 million transition fund when native logging ended, and a similar investment package could be developed.
Mr Kokshoorn was left back-pedalling when he said the jury was still out on climate change, prompting accusations he was in denial. He then said he was referring to the pace of global warming.
The pro-coal group was also accused of looking to the past, and being part of the era of Walkmans and typewriters.
However, the anti-coal group was told how Norway had massively ramped up oil extraction while doubling its tourist industry, showing that mining and tourism could exist side by side.
Viewers, who voted on the show’s webpage, Facebook and Twitter, as well as texting, then voted 46% for allowing new mines, and 54% against.
Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges later appeared and said New Zealand should not have to pick between mining or not, favouring a “balanced” approach.
However, even he conceded that he hoped “long into the future we would not be using coal”.