by Gareth Hughes
Not every bit of international media our Tourism Minister gets is good news for New Zealand as illustrated on a British website this week. New Zealand featured prominently on the Guardian website under the headline “New Zealand pushing plans to drill Middle-earth as Hobbit filming ends” which featured Key’s recent Youtube video on resource extraction, the ‘Anardarko amendment,’ the Denniston coal mine decision and New Zealand’s general climate inaction.
The Guardian rightfully calls New Zealand out the contradiction that New Zealand sells itself (and profits) as a clean and green ‘100% Pure’ location famed for its natural beauty, environment and Hobbits yet our Prime Minister is focused on drilling, mining and fracking. They ask is New Zealand about being 100% Pure or finding 50% more oil?
The valuable 100% Pure brand has come under increasing pressure this term from a toxic National Party agenda that is selling-out our environment. It’s harder and harder to make the claim when run against the long list of anti-environment decisions made by Key’s government. The toxic anti-environment agenda goes against our Kiwi values to protecting our amazing natural environment but also our economic interest. People want to travel to and buy products from a place they associate with ‘The Shire’ not with ‘Mordor.’ New Zealand’s future doesn’t lie in cramming more cows on paddocks polluting our waterways, fishing the Maui’s dolphin to extinction or hoping someone finds some oil and don’t leave too big of a mess as they get it out; it lies in smart green economic solutions like clean energy, green tech, or our ICT sector which international study after study show there are more jobs, long term gain and economic benefit than old-fashioned polluting practises.