Picture this scene from times past:
Deep in the South Island high country an old sheep musterer with windswept face wakes up to a crisp clear cold morning. He gets up off a hessian hammock hanging between the walls of a small wooden hut perched on a creek between two bald mountains. He heads over to the uneven wooden bench for a hot cup of tea. Then without looking back the old man leaves this isloted shelter and heads off on his horse for another day’s hard work in the rough country.
People like this man were pioneers. Pioneers of what you could call quissessential Kiwi heritage. And though most of us are now city-bound, we still relate to, and are proud of that heritage. It’s that heritage that the National government is putting hard cold pressure on.
Turning the Overseas Investment Act into even more of a rubber stamp and screwing the tenure review scrum in favour of private development is selling out our heritage from under our feet. We don’t want American-owned multiplex resorts where that hut once stood, and we don’t want our high country lake shores clogged up with flash hotels for wealthy tourists.
Protecting our heritage is our right, not something that should be flogged off to John Key’s wealthy mates. As the Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism continues to push our Kiwi heritage to the brink, it makes you wonder whether he understands or even cares about New Zealand’s heritage at all.