Greens greenwashing for anti-environment govt

Written By: - Date published: 11:46 am, November 14th, 2009 - 10 comments
Categories: cycleway, Environment, greens, national/act government - Tags:

greenwashThe 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.

10 comments on “Greens greenwashing for anti-environment govt”

  1. gitmo 1

    The only solution to emissions –

    “kill EVERYBODY IN THE WHOLE WORLD ahahahahahahahaaaaaa”

  2. Herodotus 2

    About time, someone so visionary as you Marty has come up with (If you follow climate change) tourism is not a substainable industry for the country to push.
    The only solution I agree with Gitmo, but modified from kill everyone to reduce the population to a few million (As long as the Queen whould say My family & I are included !!)

  3. frog 3

    Kevin comments here: http://blog.greens.org.nz/2009/11/11/cycleway-launched-by-men-in-suits-and-cars-and-one-cyclist/

    Just to be clear: it has been long-standing Green Party policy to support the development of a NZ-wide cycling network. That is what is now being developed, and why we support it. The overseas networks similar to that envisaged here have brought multiple benefits:increased physical activity brings individual health benefits and avoided health costs; people riding or walking instead of driving cars reduces emissions (benefits in GHG reductions and also particulates and gases with health consequences), better quality of life and less congestion for the traffic that does stay on the roads; and local economies, especially in rural areas, benefit from people spending money on goods and services in their areas, who otherwise would not.

    I understand the concern about the enviornmental impact of overseas tourism. It’s true that tourism benefits are the main driver for the Government on this project, and the money is all tourism dollars. My sense is that the project is most likely to keep more New Zealanders at home for their holidays, rather than heading overseas (net benefit), and the second largest tourism effect will be for overseas tourists coming to New Zealand to spend more of their time here cycling and walking (net benefit). I would be surprised if there were many additional long haul overseas tourists coming here just because of Nga Haerenga.

    And Government is starting to show some understanding that the best returns on investment in the cycling network will come from those sections that work for commuters and local recreational riders as well as tourists benefits of up to 40:1 on some parts of the British National Cycle Network.

    And of course I understand that there are people who feel we should oppose everything the Government does on principle, but my view is that approach would be inconsistent with the core philosophy of the Green Party in relation to how we interact with other people.

    By the way, the event yesterday was great to be part of. It was fantastic to see the enormous community, Council and Iwi enthusiasm for the Waikato River Trail and the huge pride taken by the young people who had been working to build the track. I was particularly struck by the large number of people who made a point of telling me that they were personally going to take up cycling, or had already started, as a result of the project. And I had a great ride especially returning to Cambridge via the Mangatautari road (longer and hillier, but much quieter, safer and more scenic.

    [lprent: That looks horribly like link-whoring to me. But I’ll let it pass because I’m feeling generous today and it is on topic. I will make it clear that it is a quote. ]

    • Daveo 3.1

      Cycleway’s going ahead anyway, all you’re doing is making the government look centrist and environmentally friendly when it’s anything but. It’s appalling politics on your part and completely counter-productive. That’s why I won’t be donating or volunteering for the Greens in future. If I want greenwash I’ll donate money to BP.

    • BLiP 3.2

      This is the same Green Party MP that tops his party’s expenditure list for air travel.

      • Herodotus 3.2.1

        There has to be some MP who tops their respective spending list of their party, if you can display how this can not be the place, I will nominate you for the noble price for Maths personnally, or are you part of the recent schooling system whereby there can be no winners ? haha

  4. Galeandra 4

    I too feel that Greens are looking very pragmatic and are lending credence to the “It’s the economy, Stupid!’ approach. I think the whole MOU ought to be abandoned so that the public realise there is an issue of principle and importance.
    It will be small comfort a decade from now if there are still lots of outdated cars belching CO2, and mining/extracting at will in areas formerly protected by “Conservation” status, as the cost of the Greens scoring some home insulation and cycleways.

  5. The cycleway has received nothing but bad publicity so I am confused that this post is so concerned about the greenwash it would have for the National party’s image.

    I also noticed that what was tactfully left out of the post was the home insulation scheme, which did provide greenwash for the current government, but also provided tens of thousands of New Zealander’s an escape from cold damp homes.

    I personally applaud the Greens’ willingness to work with a government on issues where they agree, rather than resorting to petty partisan politics.

    The MoU has provided greenwash for the current government but I hardly think that is the full reason they are ranking over 50% in current polls. It’s either work with this government and get something achieved or always be part of the 58 opposing votes in the house(which may as well not even be there since they have no impact on the government’s legislation).

    • Daveo 5.1

      “The cycleway has received nothing but bad publicity”

      Nonsense. It’s been great PR for the government. No one’s claiming the greenwash provided by Norman and co is the reason National’s polling over 50%, but it’s certainly helped. And with those high poll ratings they’ve got the cover they need to do things like mine national parks and shirk on climate change.

      Very naive from the Greens.

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