Kai on the Fly – April 2010

with Aunty Rata

Ki Ora fellow trampers.

I hope you managed to get outdoors to enjoy adventures in our conservation estate over the Easter and school holiday period.

The government has finally made public its proposals to open up more conservation estate to mining.  John Key reckons New Zealanders are evenly divided on this issue. Aunty Rata reckons now is a great time to decide where you stand on this issue and to speak up. After all, we wouldn’t want government to die wondering…

A few questions i’m asking as i prepare my submission:

  1. Is maximising NZ’s mineral potential the best way to go about improving living standards for New Zealanders?
  2. Where will it end? Schedule 4 land was supposed to be off limits to mining thereby providing certainty for the mining industry and environmentalists alike. Now a few areas have been identified for possible removal from schedule 4 which would mean mining companies could apply to mine in them while other areas are to be surveyed to gage their mineral potential, eg Stewart Island and could in the future be proposed for removal from schedule 4.
  3. What does “environmentally responsible development of our mineral estate” mean?  Some of us may take comfort from planning laws that enable management of the environmental effects of activities. The mining industry argues that mining methods are much more environmentally friendly these days. But government is reviewing the RMA. The regulatory framework can be changed at any time – watered down, strengthened or done away with.
  4. What value do we place on the conservation estate? How does this compare with the economic value of the minerals underneath it? To whom will that value accrue? Ideally we’d have sufficient information to do our own cost and benefit analysis and we could identify the distributional effects. Those of us who consider the conservation estate to be our backyard know that it has intrinsic value. Most people would allow that it has value for future generations. Our conservation estate has ecological, cultural, recreation and tourism value. Some of us chose to come and live and work in NZ because of its natural environment. For some of us this is a big part of why we stay. As other parts of the world steadily deplete their indigenous ecosystems what we have acquires scarcity value. The economic value of the minerals under conservation estate is hard to estimate even when a minerals survey has been undertaken and it has not been for most of NZ’s conservation estate. The value of any minerals depends on a range of variables including the costs of gaining consent to mine, extraction costs, and market prices for the minerals. In terms of distributional effects the value associated with conservation estate accrues primarily to the current and future public, particularly the relatively few people who use the estate for tourism and recreation purposes. The value associated with mineral extraction will accrue to the private interests who do the extraction and to those employed in the sector. A relatively small proportion of value will accrue to the government through taxes and royalties until the mineral stock is exhausted.

Submissions on the discussion paper “Maximising our Mineral Potential: Stocktake of Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act and beyond” close 5pm on Tuesday 4 May 2010. The discussion paper and the electronic submission form are available on the MED website http://www.med.govt.nz/

Maximise your impact. Check out http://2precious2mine.org.nz/. Send a copy of your submission to the Minister of Energy and Resources Gerry Brownlee, the Minister of Conservation, Kate Wilkinson, the Minister of Tourism, John Key and your local MP. Encourage your mates to have their say.

Yes I do have a recipe for you. With daylight saving over it is time to mix a bit of winter tramping with your activism. For the colder months Aunty Rata favours those rib sticking classics guaranteed to keep you warm and motivated.

Tomato Mac Cheese (serves 4-6)


  • 120g macaroni elbow pasta per person*
  • 1 tb rich tomato sauce mix per person**
  • 1 tb coconut cream powder per person (or milk powder)
  • tsp vege stock for every two people (or chicken or beef)
  • tsp minced garlic
  • 1x 140g pottle tomato paste
  • 1 pkt dried vege
  • onion
  • peppers
  • 2 carrots or 2 courgettes
  • 100-200g parmesan cheese#
  • 100-200g salami or chorizo sausage
  • Handful sundried tomatoes (optional)

*small elbows are best
** preferably the rich tomato soup mix that requires cooking not the instant sachets, the flavour is better, you can buy this in bulk from Moore Wilsons
# if group is vegetarian 2x100g parmesan cheese and no salami/chorizo


  • If you are using salami or chorizo chop it up into bite size pieces and set aside.
  • Add a cup of cold water to a billy and place dried vege, sundried tomatoes, vege stock, coconut cream powder, tomato puree and soup mix in the water to rehydrate.
  • In another billy sauté fresh veges and garlic with a little water. Set aside.
  • Add more water to the first billy, enough for cooking the macaroni. Bring to boil. Add pasta and cook. Ignore the fact that the coconut cream is lumpy.
  • When pasta is nearly done add vege mix if it will fit so it reheats, if it wont fit reheat briefly before serving.
  • Serve the contents of the billies (separately if there isn’t room to combine, punters can always mix the vege and pasta in their own bowls).
  • Pass round the parmesan and salami/chorizo for punters to sprinkle on top and mix in.

The variations on Tomato Mac Cheese you can try are limited only by your imagination. Bored with pasta and fond of baby food? Try these flavour combos with instant potato mix it’s lighter than pasta.

Mushroom Mac Cheese – replace the 1tb per person of rich tomato soup mix with rich mushroom soup mix.  (SOUP not SAUCE yes there was an error in last month’s recipe.  Tomato sauce is a condiment not a core ingredient so yep you could add it along with salt but you should not need it for Mac Cheese and it wasn’t quite what I intended…). Add some fresh or dried mushrooms instead of tomato paste.

Onion Mac Cheese – replace the rich tomato soup mix with rich French onion soup mix.  Leave out the tomato paste.

Vege Mac Cheese – replace the rich tomato soup mix with rich vegetable soup mix. Leave out the tomato paste.

Chicken Mac Cheese ….

Beef Mac Cheese….

Marmite Mac Cheese – this along with Peanut butter Mac Cheese is a good one if you don’t want to be asked to cook again.

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