Some straight talking from Michael Coote in an NBR (July 1st) article about the Indian economy. Noting the government’s enthusiasm for a free trade agreement with India, Coote writes that :
“The D-word – dairy – cited by Mr Key in in linking together the wonders of free trade with China and India should give cause for concern. Recent reports on how the likes of the Hauraki Gulf and the Kaipara Harbour are changing into marine sewage ponds thanks to bovine excrement and fertiliser runoffs show we are being ‘uddermined’ by poisoning our country to feed foreigners. Yes, we can sell artificially sustained grass-fed dairy products, but no – as Mr Key so painfully discovered as an interviewee on BBC television – we can’t keep lying about our pure, clean and green image.”
I spent a great day at the Ice Ideas Conference on Friday and came away more convinced than ever that we have the people, the ideas and the capacity to put our economy on a vastly more sustainable footing.
Nobody in the room of some six hundred was heard to suggest that selling more and more milk powder, or raw logs, or any other high volume / low value commodity is going to give us any joy economically, socially or environmentally.
Those commodities will inevitably hit environmental limits and constraints, as dairying has already shown, and trying to create financial capital at the expense of natural capital is a fool’s errand.