- Date published:
7:03 am, May 2nd, 2017 - 51 comments
Categories: accountability, exports, farming, national, water - Tags: pollution, touism export council, tourism, water, water quality
Tourism roars past dairy as NZ’s biggest export earner
New Zealand’s tourism boom has propelled the industry past dairy as the top export earner as the number of visitors increased by one million in the past six years.
For the year ending December last year total exports of dairy and related products were $12.05 billion, accounting for 17.2 per cent of all exports. Over the same period, tourism (including air travel) was worth $12.17b or 17.4 per cent of exports, according to analysis by the ASB. …
A sensible country would do well to protect its biggest export earner don’t you think? Outgoing Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright, in this piece on Newsroom, seems to agree:
The big environmental challenges for NZ
But now, while debate about water quality and ownership are dominating the headlines, it’s another topic that has Wright smiling.
Comments from the Government that there is a limit to dairy intensification is something she has been waiting her entire tenure for.
“I think there was a tipping point yesterday … I think the comments by [Primary Industries Minister] Nathan Guy yesterday that we’ve got to focus on value not volume, now I’ve been waiting for that for quite a long time.
“I didn’t see it coming but of course there has been a kind of crescendo building … so it’s not surprising but it’s very welcome.”
“For me our natural heritage it’s us, it’s our national identity. People don’t come here to go shopping, they come here because they saw a photo of a national park even if they don’t go to it, and we really need to think how we keep that.”
What about the tourist industry itself? Just so happens that yesterday the Tourism Export Council made its views quite clear. It’s a media release, and it’s excellent, so I’m going to quote the whole thing:
Tourism Industry Cautions Government To Ignore Freshwater Concerns At Own Peril!
Tourism Export Council NZ (TECNZ) has submitted to the Clean Water consultation document and is concerned that we are heading down a path where freshwater quality could lead to reputational damage to our ‘clean green’ marketing promise we share with the world.
Our country’s freshwater policy must reflect the love and connection our people have with their rivers, streams and lakes by putting in place meaningful limits and strong legal protection to support the work of councils and communities.
Instead, the Clean Water consultation document, which indicates 90% of New Zealand’s rivers will be swimmable by 2040, is a mass of smoke and mirrors which fails to address responsibility for fresh water-ways pollution.
The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS-FM) in its current form is nothing more than a PR-stunt from Government who continue to ignore scientists and expert opinion re the state of our freshwater. The NPS-FM does not address the serious problems facing our waterways and, in fact, will make them worse.
To add insult to injury, as an amendment to the Resource Management Act (RMA), government have craftily included “economic well-being and productive economic opportunities” criteria for Regional Councils who make freshwater allocation and protection decisions. The changes will effectively undermine environmental protection in the existing freshwater policy statement by requiring “economic well-being and productive economic opportunities” to be given the same status as the environment.
TECNZ (like TIA) were stunned to see that the tourism industry is not being perceived as one of the industries that rely on fresh water quality in the economic criteria used to identify vulnerable catchments for water bodies appropriate for applying for the Freshwater Improvement Fund. This shows a disappointing lack of understanding of the importance of fresh water to the tourism industry and how important the tourism industry is to the New Zealand economy.
CEO Lesley Immink adds “it’s incredible that Government is solely focused on protecting the economic wealth of an industry sector that continues to pollute the environment. There is no point of any mitigation measures if the root cause of waterway degradation is allowed to continue at the rate the Government is encouraging.”
“Clean water is the essence of life. It’s vital for us every single day personally, and for us as a country to be able to enjoy the benefits socially, culturally and economically. The people of New Zealand are starting to take notice and it won’t be long before our international reputation is damaged and we’ll have to suffer the consequences.”
Your move National.