Invergargill – company town?Posted: November 30, 2012
24 November, 2012
The Editor, Southland Times, Invercargill
The term “company town” has been around a while and not heard often, but I’m reminded of that mentality in Mayor Shadbolt’s editorial of 16/11/12. First of all Mayor Shadbolt illustrates his view, that the interests of Southland are being ignored by the government, using very thin examples. The government’s claimed support for public housing in Auckland is transparent given their record on the subject, not unexpectedly as public housing tenants are not National’s constituency, and must be viewed sceptically; if they succeed in accomplishing their top priority of selling off the power companies we’ll likely see a lessoning of interest in Auckland state housing. Also, describing Murray Horton as a “lobbyist” might bring comment from him that he wishes his nearly minimum wage salary was a bit higher fraction of the pay that is typical of large corporate lobbyists who connect with the government in Wellington on behalf of the likes of Rio Tinto. Shadbolt needs to come up with better examples.
Then the Mayor describes the sacrifices made by those building the dam including many deaths. (Note he ignores here the great national environmental campaign that saved the ecology of Lake Manapouri from total destruction.) This puts the dam into the category with the Panama Canal, typical coal mines around the world, and in a different vein the finance industry’s recent development of toxic hedge instruments which some in the industry used to essentially blackmail the US government, to name a few. None of these were built in the interests of the workers or the local peoples. They were built in the interests of corporate or wealthy investors.
So whose interests are revealed in the editorial? Are Southland’s interests being equated with those of Rio Tinto? Mayor Shadbolt’s perspective and specific choice of examples would indicate it might be viewed that way in Southland. Where is Mr Shadbolt’s comment about Rio Tinto’s threats to close the plant?
Sincerely, Richard Keller