Russel Norman (ok now I have the right number of l's and n's) is the co-leader of the environmentalists in New Zealand. As pointed out on Frogblog, he said this:
“When tourists see that our rivers are so polluted it’s dangerous to swim in them, they are shocked because our advertising tells them that we are 100% Pure,” Dr Norman says.
Now we must be living in different parts of New Zealand. Where I live (Christchurch) we have a little creek running through the place which is not polluted, so far as I can tell. The Press recently went on about pollution in the Avon, which I'm sure is a problem, but tourists happily punt up and down the thing, and we take the kids paddleboating sometimes. I'm not aware of any complaints. Could be better, will be soon, no doubt. Get over it.
We spend a reasonable amount of time near the Okuku river. It has certainly been full of rubbish lately, but not man-made. The floods have brought down masses of mud, trees and foliage. It certainly isn't polluted at all so far as I can tell. We drink the water out of the river without any ill effects (the brain damage, colon cancer and septicemia are unrelated and I have a medical opinion to prove it :-).
So what planet is this guy on? He is supposed to be the leader of a political party which (sadly) heavily influences our lives in New Zealand. And he is spouting this sort of rubbish.
Of course there is pollution in New Zealand, but to say:
our rivers are so polluted it’s dangerous to swim in them
Dr Norman then goes on:
“When WWF publishes information showing that New Zealand has one of the biggest per capita environmental footprints in the world, it undermines the 100% Pure advertising campaign being run by Tourism NZ.
It says a lot more about the WWF than about us. These are the lunatics that give less mad environmentalists a bad name. What is an environmental footprint anyway?
“National’s plan to gut the Resource Management Act so that developers can destroy the natural environment even faster than they currently are will result in more environmental degradation than we’ve seen already.
The RMA has largely been a disaster for New Zealand business, for our power generation and for our economy. If the RMA even as it stands is not enough to avoid 'environmental degradation' then I doubt anything is. I didn't know that National was planning to 'gut' it, but it certainly needs some work.
And why would anyone want to destroy the natural environment? Does anyone really believe that National wants to do that? Who would gain from 'destroying the natural environment'?
We absolutely don't need to strengthen them - this is the path to ruin. We need to get moving quickly and:
- Mine as much coal as we possibly can in the next 10-20 years
- Build a dozen new power stations so that our retail power price halves, and we are never again threatened with power shortages
- Build loads more roads so we don't have to sit in traffic all day and turn into a Little Britain
- Allow plenty of space for families to build their homes, with plenty of room for children to play
- Have lots of nice fast hot showers so we don't get cranky with each other and smell
The environmentalists' desire to turn New Zealand into a tourist Mecca and make the rest of us leave doesn't do it for me. New Zealand needs a strong economy based not just on appealing to the transient fads of international tourists, but on successful businesses in other industries also.
For that, we will need capital, electricity, roads, space AND showers.