Wednesday, 7 August 2013

8 August 2013

This week I am not going to write about the GCSB, the Henry inquiry, the breach of a journalist’s privacy, or stolen emails – I am saving all that for the novel!
Rather, I want to concentrate on our tarnished green reputation. From Fonterra to rivers not safe to swim in, the image of environmentally pristine New Zealand is taking a hammering. We are apparently not quite as pure after all, as we have deluded ourselves to believe. It would appear our green values have been hijacked by the far left of politics, with substance replaced by causes and slogans, so no-one takes care for the environment seriously any more.
The Greens’ attacks on business, and stands against sustainable development have led many middle of the road people, who still care nonetheless, to run a mile from such issues, because they now see them as too polarising and extreme. Meanwhile, rivers are degraded and poor environmental practices allowed to survive by default. But concern about the environment should not be just the prerogative of the young, the idealistic, or the socialist.
Middle New Zealand keenly wants to play its part, but has had enough of its values and concerns being sneered at and derided for not being pure enough. The net result has been their apathy. And degraded rivers, polluted beaches and now Fonterra’s crisis have been the consequence.
It is time to build a new environmental consensus around the concepts of balance and sustainability on which the Resource Management Act is based. An environment where the renowned New Zealand values of enjoying the great outdoors – respecting nature – are back in play. One where development is seen as necessary for sustainable growth, and not a dirty word. And an environment where we all care enough to want to leave something positive for future generations to enjoy.
This is not about politics or ideology – it is far more important than that. It is about the future we want for ourselves and our children. And because of that it is about all of us – not just the well-meaning activists using the issue to push a wider agenda of political and social change.
In short, it is time to stop the games and the pandering to sectional interests, and reclaim the environmental high grounds by focusing anew on what fits best with the lifestyle those of us who call these islands home want to enjoy.


  1. Our tarnished green reputation has a lot to do with the pandering of career politicians to the powerful farming lobby and monopolies like Fonterra. When people put their "lifestyle" requirement ahead of everything else then don't expect anything resembling sustainability. Hollow words Peter.

  2. So let me get your argument straight. Because Greens are the Left, and because the people who control the substance of the problem of rivers—ie primary producers, farmers etc—know that they are not Left, that these groups are not addressing the problem because it would mean that they were becoming Left? And that your solution is that the Left simply stop talking about it, so that these producers can stop their tribal, reactionary response from these left–wing greenies, and get on with the sensible actions which happens to be exactly what the Greens are proposing?

    Just trying to clarify.

  3. Sorry Peter, I was with you right up until the end of "we have deluded ourselves to believe", everything after that appeared to be, well, deluded.

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    1. we have become deluded. We do need to have another, fresher approach to perception and practice of environmental management.

      If there is a negative report about our 100% pure image, then we should look into that.

      Peter, I believe that uoy are right, especially in light of the Fonterra scandal.