I'd like to think like most Kiwi's I'm pretty green at heart. I hunt, fish, love the great outdoors and hope our natural landscape and all the elements I enjoy will be around for the next generation.
We have been lucky to grow up in a country with such abundant recreational amenities provided by our natural landscape but also in a country which for the most part has provided us with first world health, education and standards of living.
We have also grown up in a country with environmental choices due to our economic success. The trade off between leaving New Zealand as it was millennia ago and developing it for human habitation has resulted in a great wee country whose population of 4.5 millions Kiwi's punch well above their weight globally.
We are lucky to have choice's for our environment.
The choice to dam or not to dam a river for electricity or irrigation, the choice to be organic or rely on modern sprays and chemicals in our food production, the choice to save some of our threatened species from extinction, the choice to protect our remaining native forests or the choice to protect vast swaths of our territory in National Parks and Marine Reserves.
We have these first world choices because we have developed some areas for economic purposes and while this has come ultimately at an environmental cost some would argue that any human habitation comes with a consequential loss of natural amenities and if we are to accept continued human development there will need to be tradeoff's.
Unlike New Zealand there are some less fortunate nations who do not have the luxury of choosing what land can and cannot be developed, or choosing whose investment to accept or what goods and types of food can and cannot be imported. They lack these choices for a number of reasons, however primarily its due to a poor economy coupled with poor governance and limited political stability.
There are also countries without the strong conservation infrastructure of New Zealand who don't have a conservation estate managed by a government department and who despite having National Parks that exist on paper, have little or no ability to protect or maintain them.
It doesn't matter where you stand politically, you must appreciate having money gives you the ability to do things in the world of conservation that you otherwise couldn't and having money allows you luxury of choice compared to the desperation of starvation and despair faced by so many around the globe.
I like to illustrate this point with one clear and powerful example.
Imagine a child in Africa, impoverished, hungry, desperate. The child is offered an apple, he or she doesn't care if its GE free or not, is not at all fussed where it came from and what the minimum wage or working conditions were in the country where it was grown in, it matters little if rivers or lakes were polluted with run off from spray's all that matters to this young child is the fact that this apple represents nourishment something they are desperate for due to their completely limited options as a result of financial despair that exists in their country.
Many country's around the world show hallmarks of poverty induced pollution, reckless exploitation of natural resources by corrupt and desperate governments and people doing what they can to survive regardless of the environmental outcomes.
Now I'm not trying to knock the Greens or other parties intentions around protecting our environment as I noted above most Kiwi's share their desires in principal. However where the Greens fall down is what this looks like in real life and finding policy's that will deliver the outcomes they desire without killing off the country's ability to pay for them. It's like the thought process is over simplified or basic economics along with a large amount of common sense has gone wandering down to the bar after work and fallen in the gutter after a few too many beersey's.
Water quality is falling >>> rivers carry water >>> animals pollute water >>> fence the streams and rivers. Simple right? Well the Green's think so. They propose to throw in 100 million subsidy taken from the tax payer (swimming fee's) and get farmers to exclude stock from virtually all waterways by 2017. They want to add the 8.5 million hectares of extensive highland pastoral farming along with lowland sheep and beef to the current 1.6 million hectares of dairy farms which are currently working towards full exclusion (the 90% who supply Fonterra) and fence the lot!
As you can see great in theory completely ridiculous in in principal, a rule that pretty much applies to most of the Green's policies.
The Green's and their supporters need to learn to have environmental choices first must come economic success and this is not delivered by adding taxes to productive sectors of the economy nor by a confusing myriad of eco-socialist policies which seem to carry overtones of wealth envy and a disdain for farmers, businesses and high net worth individuals.
The Greens A+ for effort, desire and intent D- for practicality and reality.
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