Labour’s eerily familiar water campaign

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I guess we should be flattered by this leaflet from Labour MP Brendon Burns which appeared at the Christchurch eco-show:

Not only is the image of Mr Burns rafting the Hurunui River strangely similar to many of those from Russel’s Dirty Rivers Rafting Tour

…but the language is suspiciously familiar as well. ‘Quality of Life’ is an old Green Party slogan from years ago. On the back of his leaflet Mr Burns has this to say:

‘Clean and green’ is the basis of our economic livelihood – both for what we produce and our huge tourism industry.

Now where have I heard that before? Oh that’s right, at Russel’s speech to the Green Party AGM in June.

We say clean and green is the basis of our economic success. No environment, no economy. Clean and green: If we keep it real, we’ll all be better off.

Funny, I know it was in Christchurch, but I don’t think I saw Brendon Burns there. He must have read it online.

Here’s something else Russel said in that speech which Mr Burns seems to have conveniently ignored:

When Labour was in office the export economy was driven by massive expansion in dairy and tourism. Both sectors are built on clean and green, but they’re heading for a terrible collision. 

Labour took advantage of clean and green as tourism boomed, but put up no fight to protect our rivers and lakes while those waterways were being overwhelmed by dairy effluent. 

Labour invested in clean green branding PR but did not invest in keeping it real.

It’s nice to see that Brendon Burns now agrees that clean water is our birthright, that our brand is the basis of our economy, and that our precious wild places, like the Hurunui River, are under threat.

But his party had nine years in Government and not only did they do nothing about it, they actually facilitated the destruction by supporting irrigation schemes like the Hurunui Water Project. They sat on their hands while our rivers and aquifers were drained and polluted, and attacked the Greens when we spoke out about it.

So excuse my cynicism but actions really do speak louder than words. It’s a little hard to listen to the party that caused the water disaster telling us about the passion for clean water they have suddenly acquired now that they’re in opposition.

21 Comments Posted

  1. Unfortunately impersonation is a cornerstone of politics. Look at us here in the UK – we hated Blair for over a decade then voted in his blue replica because he’s a PR expert. Bah.

  2. Cunliffe I meant.- must be coming down with a dose of the Chris Carters

    Whoops… a naughty Natty just yelled it in the house!
    better go and watch the show!

    Congrats to Kevin – having The Hague named after him like that.

  3. Or’rite – Marx mixed up – But the Sea Shepherd gig was a goodie Rob.
    And that poor Mr Bethune has done his bit and should be kept safe I’d reckon.
    Let the many speak!

  4. Drakula, Quite right. The Greens are getting real traction and it makes the establishment nervous. Next they will wheel out Winnie who will jump up and down about the sale of the farms and the media will inform the nation that he thought of it, the vote will go to him, he will go into coalition with national (or Labour) and they will keep selling the farms. Its not just the politicians trying to steal the greens vote, its the media. Hopefully if we continue to point this out it won’t work this time. The Greens are the only real opposition.

  5. I’m onto it already Mark. I’ve one in two week’s time where the previous speaker was one Jon Kee. I’ve promised to trounce and denounce and the audience has already warmed to the smell of blood (none of it mine I hope).
    Will send report.

  6. It seems that the ‘major’ parties grab hold of enviro. issues only when they are big in the public arena.. then suddenly they are claiming them as their idea.. eg home insulation, mining in sch. 4, train network upgrades etc.. the rest of the time they are put forward as from the ‘luni’ fringe.. strange days indeed ! Kia-ora

  7. Dare I say it it is almost plagiarism, but in politics they can get away with it, in literature and arts? That’s a different story.

    We are going to see a lot of piggy-backing on Green efforts to steal the Green vote.

    Labour are a very weak opposition to the government, this is where Norman or Gareth could put up a powerfull show at question time.

  8. Much of Politicking is the art of gaining the middle ground – I wondered when the Reds/Blues would wake up – the Blues never will, it’s just too – alien har, they’re no match.
    Of course they’ll try…….
    English vs Tua – man! Explosive!

    Just quietly Robbie – sounds like we better get on the paid professional talking circuit – I’ll book the NI if you do the South.

  9. photonz1-Of course Labour can be environmentally friendly, it’s just that you wonder why the sudden championing of causes already supported by the Greens. It is almost as if Labour prevaricates until the level of public support is known. The Greens had been campaigning hard to keep mining out of Schedule 4 land for some time and once there was obvious public concern, rather than support the already established Green campaign, Labour replicated everything under their own name.
    The same thing with Brendon Burns, Russel has spent much of this year kayaking and rafting down our damaged rivers in an attempt to publicize their plight and now Brendon has decided Russel was onto a winner. Cynical maybe, but it does make you wonder about their real commitment, it certainly wasn’t obvious when they were the Government.

  10. In the flyer posted Brendon is actually flanked by at least two identifiable local Green Party members also. Not only borrowing our ideas, but our members too!

  11. Mark – I was too harsh. If Brendan was a sillyhatsman, he’s in credit.
    He can’t talk the green talk as ably as a truegreen can though, I have to maintain.
    Only 10 bucks to hear Bethune?
    Radar’s here in my little town soon and he’s asking $25. Mind you, he’s donating half that to the organisers of the night (us).
    Good man that Radar!
    Joe Bennett’s in Invers as well and it’s $35 to hear him rant!

  12. Incidentally I got this invite to help Sea Shepherd and hear Peter Bethune Speak in Wellington Friday nite…
    Will you publish it for me Frog?

    “This is part of a fund raiser for Sea Shepherd and Peter Bethune will speak. Tickets are $10 at the door.

    The schedule for the evening (possibly subject to change) is below:-

    San Francisco Bathhouse, 8pm – 2am. $10 cover charge plus donation

    8.00pm Klezmer Rebs stage c

    8.30 Hannah Howes stage d

    8.45 The Charcoal White stage c

    9.15 Russell Self stage d

    9.30 Rose stage c

    10.00 oSKa stage b

    10.30 The Rodrigo Brothers stage a

    11.00 Sam Manzanza and the Africa Rhythm Band stage b

    11.45 Steel Burning stage a

    12.30 Imon Star stage a

    1.00 Knights of the Dub Table Sound System stage a

    2.00am bands finish”

    So sorry – don’t know what time Mr Bethune will speak – a Phone call oughta sort that…

  13. Fair enough Rob; He would thrive in a fresher environment.
    He formed (along with a hundred others) a Party Club called ‘the Silly Hats Society’ in Wellington.
    Long time ago now…
    Brendan’s parties were always the very best….
    The sort of Talent one can applaud.

  14. and if you see Brendan – tell him I said he should go Green too!
    that’s the Mark he’s known for forty years
    ahem ‘Golden Boots’ (I’m soooo modest!)

  15. eh…?
    Elucidate in your own good time Toad.

    But he’s got the whole Falun-Gong thing going with his energetic oratory.

  16. @Mark 1:43 PM

    Personally I think Labour would do better with David Clendon at the Helm.

    So do I, but sorry, we’re not giving him away.

  17. Well Labour may lose more votes than the Government to the Greens. Though I know Brendan to be an entirely sincere man.
    The Fact is we are in times of enormous change.
    Conservation has Cachet – in that it’s fashionable.
    Personally I think Labour would do better with David Clendon at the Helm.

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