I reprint this blog post by/from “Frankly Speaking” rather than simply a link. It certainly illustrates how our leaders ‘live in the moment’ and expect us to share their respect for selective memory. This report card refers to Our Leader’s dancing around environmental matters. There are other report cards to be found on “Frankly Speaking”
“To Whom It May Concern; the following Report Card detail’s Johnny’s achievements over the last four years. The following contrasts compare four years, ranging from the end of 2008 to the end of this year, 2012. Whilst it is acknowledged that the Global Financial Crisis impacted harshly on our society and economy, it is also fair to say that National has had the benefits of starting out with a sound economy (surpluses, low unemployment, etc) in 2008 and four years in office to make good on it’s election promises.
“What global Leaders know, and what the National Party knows, is that environmentalism and a commitment to economic growth must go hand in hand. We should be wary of anyone who claims that one can or should come without the other. And we should always measure a Government’s environmental rhetoric against its environmental record.
In the years ahead it will be increasingly important that New Zealand marries its economic and environmental policies. Global climate change awareness, resource shortages, and increasing intolerance of environmental degradation will give environmental policy renewed relevance on the world stage…
… And, in seeking the balance between environmental and economic goals, National will never forget that New Zealand’s outstanding physical environment is a key part of what makes our country special. Kiwis proudly value our forests, mountains, rivers, lakes, and oceans. They are part of our history and they must continue to define our future.”
“National will also ensure New Zealand works on the world stage to support international efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. We are committed to honouring our Kyoto Protocol obligations and we will work to achieve further global alliances that build on the goals agreed to at Kyoto.”
National’s track record in environmental conservation and protection has been as expected; bad. And getting worse with each policy release.
On the agenda are;
- Fracking – a process that has been shown overseas to induce small earthquakes; contamination of underground water tables; risks to air quality; gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals escaping to the surface; mishandling of toxic waste chemicals; and health effects on humans and animals.
- ncreased mining actitivity in sensitive ecological areas such as the Denniston Plateau.
- Allowing deep sea drilling to go ahead despite New Zealand being woefully unprepared for a major oil spill such as happened in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, when the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded. (see: Deepwater Horizon)
- A watering down of a proposal fishery protection reserve in the Ross Sea.
- New Zealand was the only country to vote against protection marine mammals at the International Union for Conservation of Nature conference.
- And the abandonment of New Zealand’s participation in the Kyoto Protocol.
Perhaps the most scurrilous, dishonest act, was National’s gradual backtracking on the ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme).
On May 2008, John Key stated,
“National supports the principle of the ETS and is following the select committee process closely. National has had reservations about the timing of new taxes on motorists and households when there has been no personal tax relief for so long.”
On 8 April 2010, Key confirmed that the ETS would be preserved unchanged,
“I’d say it’s unlikely it would be amended.”
By 6 June 2010, the then-Climate Minister, Nick Smith announced that whether or not agriculture comes into the emissions trading scheme in 2015 would depend on technological advances and what other countries do.
And on 9 November 2011, Nick Smith announced,
“ … It is not in New Zealand’s interests to include agricultural emissions in the ETS yet. The lack of any practical and real technologies to reduce agricultural emissions means it would only impose a cost or tax on our most important export industry. It would also have New Zealand too far ahead of our trading partners on climate change mitigation measures. National will review the position in 2014 and only include agriculture if new technologies are available and more progress is made internationally on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
By 3 July 2012, Key began to publicly vacillate,
“John Key says the Government will wait for other countries to follow suit before introducing agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme…”
And on 20 August 2012, National introduces the “Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading and Other Matters) Amendment Bill 2012″, which would remove agricultural emmissions indefinitely, and will,
“remove a specified entry date for surrender obligations on biological emissions from agriculture”.
It took them four years to do it, with some cunning public manipulation (and outright lies) – but National achieved it’s real agenda,
- Watering down the ETS until it was toothless,
- Keeping agriculture (the worst emitter of greenhouse gases in NZ) out of the ETS
- Abandoning the Kyoto protocol
See previous blogpost for further details: ETS – National continues to fart around
Perhaps New Zealanders don’t quite realise that when National talks of being “blue-green” – they are referring to the colour of money – not conservation.
National’s response to our growing environmental problems?
Shoot the messenger.
In November 2012, Environmental scientist, Dr Mike Joy, told the unvarnished truth to the world that our “100% Pure” and “Clean & Green” image was largely a myth. Dr Joy blew the cover on our dirty rivers; fouled lakes; high levels of greenhouse gas emissions from our agricultural sector.
He told the New York Times,
“There are almost two worlds in New Zealand. There is the picture-postcard world, and then there is the reality.”
National’s Tim Groser did not like that one little bit, and responded with condemnation of Dr Joy,
“It’s been used as a stick to beat New Zealand by environmental activists.”
And Dear Leader added this confusingly disjointed bit, just to sheet home the message to all critics to ‘STFU’,
“It’s like saying ‘McDonald’s, I’m loving it’ – I’m not sure every moment that someone’s eating McDonald’s they’re loving it . . . it’s the same thing with 100% Pure. It’s got to be taken with a bit of a pinch of salt.”
See previous blogposts: When spin doctors go bad, John Key’s “pinch of salt” style of telling the truth
I wonder if Mr Groser or Dear Leader will be swimming or drinking water from any of these rivers.
Meanwhile, Yale University’s Environmental Performance Index highlighted one simple fact; New Zealand has slipped on international EPI rankings.
In 2008, New Zealand ranked seventh out of 149 nations.
In 2012, our ranking dropped seven placings to number fourteen.
On every indicator and policy, New Zealand is doing poorly in the field of conservation. We are going backwards.
New Zealanders need to get their collective heads around one simple fact; giving priority to environmental protection is not just a “good Greenie idea” (which it is, by the way) – but impacts on our $23 billion tourism industry and our $14.5 billion dairy and meat export industry.
Those who would damage or destroy our environment for short-term monetary gain, sheer selfishness, or pigheaded ignorance, are guilty of nothing less than economic treason against our country. (Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Mr Unsworth! See previous related blogpost:Lobbyist stands by ‘ego trip’ email)
The only reason that National has not merited a “F” is that at least they backed down from mining in Schedule 4 Conservation lands, after a public outcry and 50,000-strong protest in Auckland (see: Huge protest says no to mining on conservation land) in May 2010.
(Note- I would probably have said an F, and seriously considered giving that as my assessment!)