Shane Jones is potentially a West Coast hero. Mining is part of the Coast he says, and he is of course right.
The government in its wisdom, or lack of ,recently rejected a request to mine on some conservation land. And not a lot of it. It meant jobs and income for a region that needs jobs and income.
There are a few bits of this country that have not boomed the way others have and the West Coast of the South Island is one of them. Jones in suggesting mining is part of the coast equation recognises this, and we are better off for it.
Common sense is part of governance as opposed to blind ideology which is what drove the original rejection of mining. The Jacinda Arderns and Eugenie Sages, when they said no, they celebrated the fact they saved some snails and ferns. But they failed to tell the coast just what they were doing to make up for the fact that, that decision cost high paying jobs.
And that is the problem with the Greens in particular, nothing wrong with loving the land. But you can't do it at the expense of people, communities and livelihoods.
Jones has a practicality about him that I suspect appeals to a lot of people. Not unlike his work for the dole scheme that the labour government also rejected. The practicality being, you have people being paid to do nothing and you have work out there to be done. Why not join the dots?
Get the work sorted, maybe they pick up a few skills along the way, not to mention the fact they're given an incentive to get out of bed. And a reminder that there is no free lunch and welfare doesn’t come for nix. See that is what you would call a sensible middle New Zealand view of the world.
The Labour Party don’t get it. The Greens don’t get in on the environment or conservation, it's a balance. The world will one day, I assume, do without fossil fuels. But if it does, it’s a long, long, long way off.
For all your solar panels and electric cars, the reality, and this is what Jones seems to get, is for the vast majority of us we still use petrol, gas,and stuff that comes out of the ground. And if we don’t, the world does, and industry does.
They're having the same scrap in Australia, they're trying to be all green and clean, while at the same time shipping off an absolute fortune in coal to India. The coal, most people seem to forget, still gets burned.
So for today, right here right now, the Coast needs work, it needs income, and Jones is right. Mining is very much, as it always has been, part of the equation.