Talk:New Zealand: Mining in Schedule 4 Conflict
This is a very good introduction to the issue of mining in New Zealand's Schedule Four land and neatly summarises the main points of contention, the arguments used by both sides and the positives that accrued from the dialogue process.
What follows are suggestions for potentially enhancing and clarifying the information contained in the article.
Introduction - facts and opinions
It would be useful for readers to know when exactly the National-led government proposed removing conservation land from Schedule 4 and what sparked the proposal to begin with (maybe a sentence or two on the state and structure of New Zealand's economy, and the political-economic philosophy of the government, if possible).
By stating "[t]here are some positive steps associated with this decision" the article is already moving away from a neutral description of events and clearly takes sides by inferring that the proposal was mostly negative from the beginning. That is fine, but it should maybe be a clear statement of such. Currently, the opening opinion comes from the opposing Green camp only.
It would be good to state the size of the contestable conservation fund in relation to the potential alleged financial windfall to be gained from mining (billions of dollars).
The economic argument made by the government could be clearer in regard to the alleged amount of financial benefit to the country (e.g. some claims were in the realm of $90 billion for a country with a population of 4 million). Did the government say whether it had a plan for how to use that money? Maybe briefly state the arguments it used to rebut claims made about irreversible environmental damage (e.g. "surgical mining"). Would it be possible to bullet point Gerry Brownlee's four principal arguments?
A quick summary of the key economic counter-arguments would be good, e.g. the fact that foreign companies would have to carry out the mining work, the royalties paid to the government, an estimate of how much mineral wealth could actually be extracted compared to the government's estimate of wealth available, whether the money would be used for business-as-usual purposes or would be put into an investment fund, the long-term sustainability of mining, etc.
Ditto the intrinsic and cultural value placed on the land by different groups.
The summary of the negotiation process is very good. A short explantion of what an 'iwi' is would help though (basically a Maori tribe). And as an aside, it's standard procedure to withhold some information from Official Information Act requests on the basis of either commercial sensitivity, to protect the identity of individual public servants, or because the release of information may imperil ongoing negotiation or work plans. Complaints regarding withheld information can be taken to the Ombudsman.
This section is very clear and straightforward.
This is also very clear, but it might enhance understanding if there were a brief discussion of whether the government and the mining lobby had handled the debate appropriately and whether there was anything they could have done differently to increase support for their proposal. Was the proposal inherently flawed or did the pro mining camp simply not communicate their ideas well? Did the government have ulterior motives for pushing for mining on Schedule 4 land? i.e. was it "softening" the public up for mining in other protected areas?
The quote from the Economist sums up the dilemma faced by NZ very well: how far should NZ go to protect its natural heritage while struggling to maintain a developed first world economy?
The factors involved in the discussion process are all standard practice in a small developed country with a well-established democratic tradition like NZ. It's good to list them here, but it might also add some value if they were briefly discussed in relation to their global applicability to other states which are under pressure to develop their economies.
In regard to the question about "radical ideology", other questions might include something along the lines of what type of governments are more willing to pursue such types of economic and development policies, and the role that indigenous peoples play in these types of debates.