Seriously though by Trevor Plumbly
The gift to be simple
Having passed the allotted biblical span, I find my field of entertainment has narrowed quite dramatically. In the interest of good taste, I won’t itemise activities that gratified me in my younger days. Instead, I’d like to indulge myself in the time-honoured pastime of the elderly by having a bloody good moan.
2018 in New Zealand promised a great deal, but delivered little. We had a young, charismatic prime minister with a strong social conscience, a reasonable bank balance and a weak political opposition. It should have been the year of the new broom, but once again the reality of MMP (Mixed Member Proportional) overpowered the dream and appeasement replaced the promised determination.
The effluent society
“Clean Green” is more a memory than a boast these days; we allow dairy farmers to operate massive irrigation schemes to provide fodder for animals to turn our waterways into sewage outlets. The fact that we can sell clean water overseas should send some sort of warning, but it doesn’t seem to. It’s possible to travel the length of the country cleaner and cheaper by electric car, but we continue to import thousands of obsolete and unwanted petrol and diesel powered vehicles from Japan.
The trade gap
We need to concentrate more on internal possibilities than on world dreams. It’s ironic to applaud the demise of plastic bags whilst allowing the import of tons of the plastic stuff in the form of short-life electronic novelties. No less farcical to export timber in log form then buy it back as manufactured product. It seems to me that we’re exporting value whilst importing environmental problems. Perhaps someone could point out to the appropriate ministers that there are some things you simply can’t buy back.
“My country, tis of thee”
As remote as we are, climate change is already with us, albeit in a milder form than a host of ‘developed’ countries. The simple fact is that we are taking more than the land can give back. Planting a few extra trees may offer a sop to global warming but we need more control over our treatment of waste and resources and as a small Pacific country we’re in a position to become a showcase. Years ago, against the tide, David Lange declared us ‘Nuclear Free’. We set a standard then, let’s do it again now.