A National attack on the environment

Written By: - Date published: 11:34 am, November 29th, 2012 - 14 comments
Categories: climate change, Conservation, Environment, farming, national, sustainability, water - Tags:

Anthony has already mentioned the amazing record of us winning both first and second prize in the first Fossil of the Day awards at the Doha climate talks – quite a remarkable achievement, particularly for a nation that trades on its “100% Pure” environmental credentials.

Over at Pundit Claire Browning has an extensive list of this government’s attacks on the environment. BLiP in the comments on Anthony’s post goes for an even longer list.

The response?  To attack the scientists…  Russell Brown had a good blog (& Media 3) on the evidenceless attack on Mike Joy.  Noticeably John Key never has produced the scientist he said he could when on Hard Talk he had dismissed Joy’s comments because scientists are “like lawyers, I can provide you with another one that will give you a counterview.”

Last year I ran for Parliament against Maggie Barry.  Many voted for her because of her gardening credentials, figuring she must be environmentally friendly…  But had they turned up to hear her speak they would have heard her repeatedly push the National Party line: we can look after the environment after we’ve sorted out the economy.

Rubbish.

If we don’t have an environment we don’t have an economy.  Environmental limits must be considered.  We can’t have increasing intensification of our dairy industry without considering its effects on our water – and the 18-34,000 people people annually who contract waterborne diseases.  That’s before we even consider the effects on the tourism industry, which the “shoot the messenger” meme seems to be about.

Similarly, as Climate Change looks like it’ll be worse than current estimates, we can’t just let companies pump out greenhouse gases into our air, while weakening the ETS below any sort of market signal.  Corporations do not have first right to use and pollute those resources – air, water, the environment – that are held in common for all of us.

But read Claire Browning’s list, consider those Fossil awards, and Nasa’s James Hansen’s need to be an activist for the love of his grandchildren, and think about whether National’s lack of consideration for the environment will be good for our future – both as individuals, and for our economy.

14 comments on “A National attack on the environment”

  1. Good synopsis Ben.

    The belligerent refusal to acknowledge what is happening around them and to do anything about it is chilling.  

    This is why we need a Labour-Green government next time without Winston.  Amongst the ranks of his members are people who harbour beliefs as insular and  ill informed as the worst of National’s members. 

    • Fortran 1.1

      mckeysavage

      On the current predicted seat numbers for 2014 the Labour/Greenpeace coalition will have the most seats, but only get into Government with Winston and his cronies.
      MMP as envisaged/expected will give Nacts the most seats but not enough to govern.
      Neither will the left coalition, so be nice to Winston, whose decision will always be suspect, as usual.
      Will he support the Greens – he says never but “No Baubles” as he had said before.

  2. BLiP 2

    .

    The copy pasta is a bit cheeky, I know, but, hey, National Ltd really cannot say it wasn’t warned.

    7 December 2011

    To:

    The Honourable Kate Wilkinson, MP

    The Director General, Department of Conservation, Mr Al Morrison

    We wish to register our collective dismay at the current restructuring of the Department of Conservation. The effect of these changes is of particular concern with regards to science and technical support staff. The dedicated staff in these positions are intimately involved in planning and advising field based conservation management and research. Therefore, to suggest that rangers and field based staff will not be affected by these changes, as the Minister and Director General claim, is ludicrous.

    The Department of Conservation is characterised by an incredibly dedicated staff who are passionate about their jobs. Unfortunately, this dedication to conservation is not reflected by government. There is an ongoing reduction in capacity, support and funding for New Zealand conservation, along with the continual threat of restructuring and reprioritisation of resources. The loss of positions coupled with those who chose to leave an under-resourced and uncertain future within the department is to the detriment of New Zealand Conservation and ultimately to New Zealanders.

    New Zealand has an outstanding international reputation for innovative and effective conservation management.

    This reputation has been hard won through snatching iconic species from the brink of extinction the Chatham Island black robin, kakapo, takahe and saddleback. Many more species and ecosystems teeter on the edge of oblivion. We have the expertise to prevent this from happening but the experts require funding, support and job security.

    This week over 1300 conservation biologists from more than 75 countries will converge on Auckland for the International Congress on Conservation Biology. As academics and scientists with intimate links to New Zealand-based conservation management, science and research what will we say when our international colleagues ask about conservation in New Zealand? We have many good things to tell them because conservationists are, by necessity, a dedicated and determined group of people. But we cannot say that this commitment is reflected by our government and we will doubtless relay our fears for the future of New Zealand conservation.

    100 per cent Pure New Zealand has to be more than a marketing slogan to attract tourists and buoy exports of our agriculture products. It requires a well-funded Department of Conservation and secure roles within the department for the dedicated staff to simply get on with their job of protecting New Zealand’s biodiversity. We acknowledge the current economic challenges facing the globe but we also ask that conservation management and science be properly acknowledged as a strategic asset for the wealth of all New Zealanders and funded as such. Recessions come and go: extinction is forever.

    Kind Regards

    107 top scientists and academics

    Bit silly pulling out of Kyoto last week, really, but tell me, are you lovin’ it yet, John?

    • vto 2.1

      Yep this is truly a neanderthal government.

      Probably the last of its species, due to get swallowed by the rising seas and never be seen again for a long time.

  3. ropata 3

    The War on Terra is the unofficial name for a series of policies initiated by the United States in response to a series of attacks against civilian populations and other national interests conducted by extremist weather fronts led by Mother Nature, reputedly on behalf of Planet Earth. In late 2001, President Bush declared total war on Planet Earth and all nation states and ecosystems harboring life. To these ends, the Bush administration began to implement the following policies:

    * Use of preemptive strikes against the environment and other locations which harbor extreme nature and life
    * Suspension of the laws of nature
    * Massive home front mobilization of civilians and industry to assault nature

    With deep and heartfelt personal commitment, many Americans continue to devote their attention and energy to destroying the Earth. In addition, preliminary work for the destruction of Mars and the Moon has begun. Many believe that the War on Terra will be one of the enduring legacies of President George W. Bush.

  4. Tracey 4

    Nothing about this Govt says “leadership”. I suspect we don’t know how we are voting in the UN on the Palestinian issue yet because we haven’t found out how the people we are dying to please want us to vote. For or abstain are our choices apparently… Australia has announced they are abstaining. But not us, no siree we can’t be seen to vote the wrong way in advance…

  5. Just to reiterate I think all politicians are 100% focused on their personal best interests….. they are human after all.
    The destruction of 100% pure NZ has been going on since the first human steeped foot on it.
    It has just accelerated these past 100 years or so, with a massive spurt of growth in the past 20 od years, especially in the 9 years Labour were pulling the strings, admittedly just following what National had done the previous 9 years ….. and so on.
    To maintain growth we have to keep destroying the environment, no ifs or buts growth eats the environment.
    If National are going to make sure your Labour/Green Kiwi Saver accounts stay in the black then they must do their utmost to maintain growth.
    What is the point of starting a growth based savings plan, then harping on about how damaging it is to the environment?
    The Greens don’t have an answer to that, maybe that is why Norman wants to increase the manufacture of ‘stuff’ this explains what manufacturing actual is, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLBE5QAYXp8 , any friends of the idiot greens might want to show them this skit, to help them understand exactly what manufacturing is.
    Cheese manufacturing equals pollution
    Aluminum manufacturing creates pollution.
    The 2 billion pears of shoes China manufactures each year creates pollution.
    Nothing ‘we’ manufacture has a positive, it is all bad.
    Yet the Green party want to recreate the thousands of ‘manufacturing’ jobs that have gone in the past 4 years? go figure? As politicians they are more concerned about getting re elected than saving what they can of this screwed environment.
    The opposition are all a bunch of Tickle Me Elmo’s

    • ropata 5.1

      national arent doing anything for growth, they are selling us out
      extracting wealth (gst, housing bubble) from the middle/low incomes
      racking up debt to give their rich mates a tax break

      it’s not a zero sum game
      homo sapiens has lived here for millennia
      we should prepare for a low energy, high tech society

      manufacture 1000’s of houses with wood… sustainable
      build rail instead of motorways
      stop subsidising polluting farmers

      money is just a tool
      use it to defend our taonga … fisheries and land and people

      • Robert Atack 5.1.1

        homo sapiens has lived here for millennia .. 40,000 – 100,000 years anyway ?

        high tech = high energy and high use of rear earths

        manufacture 1000′s of houses with wood… sustainable
        ??- I can’t even take a wild guess at the carbon footprint of the typical NZ timber house, at a guess I would say there is nearly as much fossil fuel (by weight) used in the manufacture of the materials?
        Take wood, first you have to drive out to the forest, use ya chainsaw to cut down the tree, then truck it to a timber mill, mill it using electricity (the fact that our electricity also has a large carbon footprint, and limited life is another argument). Then a lot of the framing timber is kiln dried (using natural gas). Then it is trucked to the timber yard, then delivered to the building site, most of it has also soaked in chemicals made from oil.Cement (piles etc) is second to oil for CO2 Then the builder uses electricity to cut the wood etc, the nails also have a massive footprint. Then there is all the steel bracing, roofing, bolts etc. The builders normally drive to and from work. Carpet? Plumber – shower (hot water) porcelain toilet, wire etc to use yet more electricity, paint. and a shit load of stuff comes wrapped in plastic.
        AND to top it all off every person in this supply chain has a carbon footprint.IE food etc.

        build rail instead of motorways –
        Rail has a massive carbon footprint, if humans only built rail, and never used cars, we would still be in the crap, just a few years later.

        stop subsidising polluting farmers.
        So what are you planing on eating? Or who do you think should starve? We are 7 billion people, it is predicted that ‘we’ need to produce as much food in the next 50 years as we have grown in the past 10,000 . With the bread basket of the world literally turning into a perpetual dust storm, we will be looking at Soilent Green let alone every other place to grow food.
        You along with most humans now consume 9 – 10 oil calories, per sun calorie. A McDonald’s happy meal might be 200/1, local, organic, vegetarian would be lower?

        fisheries and land and people
        It is fisheries and land OR people, with 7b ppl you can’t have all 3.

        Humans started adding to this current period of global warming about 10,000 years ago,(agriculture/deforestation) it has just been the past 200 that we have perfected our ability to destroy the environment, fossil fuels and 7 billion humans has sure helped.

        • ropata 5.1.1.1

          another part of the plan would be to ignore people who say it’s all too hard and we ought to give up
          we can’t just roll over and let greedy land grabbers pillage our national treasures.

          i prefer to use the brakes, rather than drive full speed off the cliff

  6. “But had they turned up to hear her speak they would have heard her repeatedly push the National Party line: we can look after the environment after we’ve sorted out the economy.”

    They tried that in Japan, they are still paying the major environmental (and thus economic) costs today of such environmentally reckless policies: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_issues_in_Japan

  7. newsense 7

    And the clear Labour position on multitude of environmental issues is…?

    they are a nice to have? We’ll tell you what we’ll do at the election?

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