Rio Tinto's 'company town'

Last updated 11:26 27/11/2012

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OPINION: The term ''company town'' has been around a while and not heard often, but I'm reminded of that mentality in Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt's article (November 16).

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 its record on the subject (not unexpectedly as public housing tenants are not National's constituency) and must be viewed sceptically.

If the Government succeeds in its top priority of selling the power companies we'll likely see a lessening of interest in Auckland state housing.

Then the mayor describes the sacrifices made by those building the dam including many deaths. 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 coalmines 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 was built in the interests of the workers or the local people. They were built in the interests of corporate or wealthy investors.

So whose interests are revealed in the article?

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?

RICHARD KELLER

Wellington

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