The Greens have announced the collapse of the cornerstone of their Memorandum of Understanding with National. With Gerry Brownlee as Minister for Energy, National hasn’t only failed to make progress on energy efficiency and conservation, it is taking illogical, retrograde steps.
So why are the Greens continuing to provide greenwash for this government?
I’m thinking about Kevin Hague turning up to Key’s little pole planting ceremony for the first national cycleway.
What is the environmental advantage of this cycleway through rural Waikato?
I mean, cycleways in cities would be great. Offering safe and convienent routes for people to get to work and around town by bike would help reduce carbon and particulate emissions from commuting etc. But do isolated rural cycleways do that?
Take the Otago Rail Trail, does it reduce environmental harm? No, if you believe it increases tourism as the proponents claim, it clearly increases environmental damage. People drive and fly from around the country to use the trail, spewing carbon emissions all the way.
These cycleways are not going to be for commuters, they’re not even going to be for people travelling around New Zealand from town to town. They’re not intended as transport routes where cycling replaces driving. They are tourist attractions. The goal is that people will travel to cycleways by car, bike along them, then drive away by car. In fact, if everything goes according to plan (the same plan that said $50 million could build a cycleway the length of the country within two years, employing 3,700 people) then tourists will be flying here from overseas to ride on these cycleways, causing enormous carbon emissions.
Cycling as an every day form of transport to replace driving is a great way to reduce carbon emissions. The cycleways that National is funding will increase carbon emissions.
I just don’t understand why the Greens are lending their brand to that. All they are doing is giving this government a green facade while it makes backward steps on key environmental policy.