Minister Smith please stand up

The Bluegreens meet this weekend. In seeking to glass over the anti-environmental record of this Government to date, they even claim the $10 waste levy as their own – when they initially voted against the Greens’s Waste Minimisation Act that created the waste reduction price signal.

Leading Bluegreen and the National Party’s long-time environment spokesperson, now the Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Dr Nick Smith, is proud of his environmental commitment. His blog before the election:

New Zealand’s environment is at the core of our national identity and our way of life. For most Kiwis it is considered a birthright to be able to get out and enjoy our great outdoors.  This unique ability to camp, fish, tramp, hunt, and picnic is part of what defines us as New Zealanders, and is enjoyed by young and old alike.

The reality is, though, that our natural environment, which we are all so proud of, is not being well managed.

Now, many are pointing finger and him and his Government – and noting the lack of influence of the Bluegreens – about the management of our natural environment; on climate change, enviroschools, RMA reform, funding, and now attempts to steal protected conservation land for mining.

Nick has been surprisingly silent on the decision of Ministers Brownlee and Groser to do a stock-take of our premiere conservation land for its mining potential. Was he consulted? We know he was given a copy of Brownlee’s speech prior, but did he read it? Does he support it?

The view from Mt Owen
The view from Mt Owen

What’s up, Nick?

Nick proudly displays a large landscape photo of Kahurangi National Park’s Mt Owen above his office reception desk.

Will he let his Government mine it for the gold in the granite quartz seams?

He proudly displays Forest and Bird mags in his office reception as conservation-cred.

Has he listened their perspective on the Government’s decision to assess National Parks and Nature Reserves for mining?

Listen_to_the_HeatbeatAnd his reception area coffee-table book is LISTEN to the Heartbeat of the Earth, a “collection of inspirational images of the natural environment …each reminding us what a fragile and special place we live in.”

Will listening to the rumble of mining machines and photos of scarred mountains be his Government’s contribution?

Before the election the National Environment Spokesperson Nick Smith said “The burning of coal is the dirtiest form of energy and the single largest global source of greenhouse gases.”

Why then does his Government want to find more, and from under our most high value conservation land?

What’s up, Nick?

22 Comments Posted

  1. Round is simply thrashing around looking for a justification for his Eurocentric prejudice. For example:

    “Diversity is no foundation for a nation. A little diversity is an interesting and diverting thing; we all enjoy an ethnic restaurant. Variety is the spice of life. But a spice is not a staple; it is not the bread and butter of daily life. One cannot live on nutmeg alone.”

    The meaning of his metaphor being – Western/European culture is the staple, everyone else’s culture is just a spice. “Our” food is normal – “your” food is “ethnic”.

    He relishes in creating “isms” – “Treatyism” and “Tribalism” – and claiming these are philosophies his opponents uphold, but the examples he points to are not the result of ideological preferences, but compromises and practical steps taken by Maori as a reaction to the refusal of the dominant culture to give up power.

    Round is attacking people for grudgingly taking what little is on offer and claiming that what they are being given is what they want.

  2. I think “Modern Art” has a wider meaning than “Modernism” in art. These are different from Modernist philosophy, but I think post-modernism traces its origins to a rejection or critique of modernism that was strongly associated with art and design.

  3. Yeah, modernism is definitely dated. In art they heyday of modernism was pre-WWII. Round might not like it but there isn’t anything stupid about the name post-modernism. The Modernists should have known they’d be superceded by something so blame them for either (1) failing; or (2) choosing a name that would invariably date. Post-modernism is no more stupid from a historical perspective than names like neolithic, pont-neuf, or “Modern” typefaces.

  4. you mean “modernism” is dated as in:

    This disastrous policy is of course perfectly aligned with the ‘post-modern’ philosophy which is now fashionable in the universities. Post-modernism ~ a stupid name if ever there was one ~ claims to have made a complete break with the rational philosophies the West has followed since the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century (if not earlier), with their beliefs in objective truth and universal standards. That approach enabled us to look down on other cultures and beliefs as inferior to ours, and that was just so judgmental and unkind. Post-modernism believes that there is no objective truth ~ rather, there are truths. This is true for me ~ but something else is true for you. One is no better than the other. We are therefore unable to say that our culture is better than another’s.”?

  5. David Round’s comments seem dated, even for a conservative. He sounds like a contemporary of Margaret Thatcher. Nations have always been divided by class and ethnicity. Any reasonably objective historical analysis confirms this. Apparently Round really believes the romantic myths constructed by the nationalists of yesteryear.

  6. As Knustler says we have evolved into a fossil fuel dependant society and changing is like turning a ship around. Labour and national are soft on C02 (etc) because just about anything they do will cause squeals as people loose jobs. The Greens can jump up and down about their lack of action while slating Paula bennet for revealing that someone on the DPB can haul in about 50,000 per year and Keith locke gloats that the Green immigration policy is “the opposite of Winston Peters”.
    International Socialism is the blight of the environmental movement.
    I imagine the blue-greens are at odds with the GW deniers in National just as genuine Greens are frustrated with the opportunistic “red-greens”.

  7. Its worth reading more in Australia and mining:

    Guy Pearse has done some good work on the subject and come up with the term ‘Quarry Vision’.

    conversation with ABC Radio National’s Peter Mares, Guy Pearse discusses the ideas that form the basis for his recent Quarterly Essay, Quarry Vision – Coal, Climate Change and the End of the Resources Boom. ‘Quarry vision’ is the belief that Australia’s greatest asset is its mineral and energy resources, coal above all. How has this distorted our national politics and stymied action on climate change?

    Quarry vision, he argues, is a trap and a blind faith we can no longer afford.

  8. David Round presents a highly biased and contentious definition as to what constitutes a nation. How ironic that Round seeks to rally against the ‘divisive’ future of NZ’s democracy by appealing to one of the most divisive of ideologies: nationalism.

  9. I can see how blue-greens wouldn’t hit it off with red-greens as demonstrated in this post by Law lecturer David Round

    “It is time to do some profound thinking about the future shape of our democracy. There are high-minded dimwits about who have a wonderful vision of a future Aotearoa/New Zealand as a collection of tribes ~ ‘Ngati Maori, Ngati Pakeha, Ngati Pasifika, Ngati Asia’, doubtless even Ngati Muslim. I firmly believe that the establishment of such tribalism here would be an unutterably disastrous undoing of New Zealand. A nation is a group of people who believe that more unites them than divides them; that, despite the inevitable differences between them, they are nevertheless at base one people. The preoccupation of all nation-builders is to establish that common identity. Tribalism does the opposite. It divides the world into members of ones own tribe, and strangers outside. Tribalism is the enemy of nationhood.”

  10. National is in coalition with Act, but that has a lot to do with Sue Bradford types wanting nothing to do with National.

    I’m strongly a “Sue Bradford” type member of the Greens, but I could support a National government that offered a much more aggressive stance on climate change just because the problem is so urgent. We Greens are a complicated lot, and your amateur analysis tells us more about your political opinions than it does about the party as a whole. Especially given that you don’t seem to get that this post is not even a comparison of Nick Smith vs the Greens, it’s a comparison of Nick Smith (before election) vs Nick Smith (after election).

    He needs to be consistent with his own marketing before we’d even need to blow our own horns to say he’s not doing enough, which is a sign of how short he’s fallen of any meaningful environmental or (‘small g’) green policy.

  11. “looking at all the environmental legislation that the National party has repealed since they got into power, I suspect the lack of co-operation between National and the Greens has as much to do with National wanting nothing to do with Jeanette Fitzsimons types.”

    but the greens didn’t get a lot of votes (support) last election as the public don’t understand the marriage between the environment and “social justice”. Instead they see a rabbit married to a magpie so you don’t have to be taken too seriously. I for one don’t believe many of you are any more pro environment than the next person, so that your “social justice” goals are pursued even though they are unpopular and make the public scoff. The problem is that your position on “social justice” is at odds with most people in the community as we are perceived to be at a different end of the pendulums swing.

  12. jh wrote:

    “National is in coalition with Act, but that has a lot to do with Sue Bradford types wanting nothing to do with National.”

    looking at all the environmental legislation that the National party has repealed since they got into power, I suspect the lack of co-operation between National and the Greens has as much to do with National wanting nothing to do with Jeanette Fitzsimons types.

  13. There are so many differences between the blue greens and the Greens, it’s amazing you could get this analysis so wrong. The main difference is that the blue greens are part of a right wing, free trade, money chasing government that will sacrifice anything for the perceived good of the economy… however short sighted. The blue greens are likely only tolerated by the Nats as they may draw votes. The Greens, on the other hand, are a party who would like to see Powelliphanta snails protected (not in fridges).

  14. The difference between the blue greens and red greens (Green Party) is that they are part of the governing party in power and so have to operate an economy. The red greens just demand more spending (for their part).
    National is in coalition with Act, but that has a lot to do with Sue Bradford types wanting nothing to do with National.

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