National goes Green and everyone gets upset


One doesn’t normally associate the National Party with forward-thinking conservationist policy. That’s more the territory of the Greens, who battle valiantly for the protection and sustainability of the environment and its biodiversity in these dark planetary days. It’s the Greens who normally fight the good fight against the chop ’em down (trees) and fish-till-you-drop brigade whose numbers are legion.

So it came as a pleasant surprise to recently read that the government has proposed to set a marine reserve around the Kermadec Islands, which would raise our marine quota from 0.4 per cent to 15 per cent, 5 per centage points above the target set by the United Nations, to which New Zealand is a signatory.

You’d think everyone would applaud. But no.

Loudest in condemnation was Ngai Tahu elder Sir Tipene O’Regan. According to him, it was dangerous. What he meant was that it would be dangerous for iwi fishing rights.

Dangerous? My goodness, how does that work, given that iwi haven’t fished in the area for 10 years? It turns out that he was invoking the slippery slope argument, or in other words, the sky will fall if we follow this path.. “Where does it stop?” he fulminated.

It reminded me of the recent behaviour of another corporate body, Tainui Group Holdings, which wants to cut down 100 year old trees at Ruakura in order to build a transport hub on the property.

Various bloggers on the issue responded with their opinions, one of which read, “Once proud guardians of the land, now corporate raiders who don’t care.”

How things change when you become big and powerful and money become your raison d’être. The supreme irony in this case is TGH wants to fell the trees originally planted to commemorate those who had fallen in the World War I.

Another blogger was happy to see them chopped down. Tainui would plant other trees in their place, he airily suggested.

This man obviously just doesn’t get it.

Maori being conservators of our natural heritage is one of the biggest myths that we manage to perpetuate. Maori greed, on the other hand, has driven most of their decisions. It’s all about the money. Always is.

Equally obscene is that the Media party and the other opposition party consider themselves to have some kind of ownership of green issues. So much so that they get all upset about National acting to protect the environment: cleaner waterways and marine reserves…and instead of gratitude they are met by hostility for “encroaching on to other parties’ territory”.

They too, obviously, don’t get it.

Green isn’t a left or right issue.


– Peter Dornauf, Waikato Times


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  • MaryLou

    No, it’s not a left or right issue. But try telling that to any left leaning sod out there. They truly believe they have the monopoly on these and social issues. In regard to Maori environmental guardianship, at no point have they proven to be better guardians of their surroundings than have old whitey. The only difference being the type of industry whitey brought to NZ as opposed to what was already here. Now these tribes have gone corporate, you can see there is no difference in outlook at all.

  • Michelle

    I remember our kids coming home from school after having to listen to some elder saying how Maori are the best conservationists in the world they look after their environment
    The kids came home and what a load of rubbish they had to listen to especially as the person saying this had more dead cars in his back yard than anyone around

    • Orca

      Would that be the same great guardians of the environment that had made most of the native New Zealand wildlife extinct before European settlers arrived? Or perhaps it’s the same mighty guardians of the environment that make all of the areas that they currently live in into one huge rubbish dump. In Rotorua, where most of the lakeside land is under maori trust ownership, the lakes are so polluted, it is taking decades to try to clean them up.

      • Michelle

        Yes those are the ones
        Lake Omapere is in the same boat but they blame everyone else and won’t let it be opened up to let the overflow out so wrecking good land around it

      • Michelle

        Now they are rewriting history to make themselves look like the great conservators that they preach about
        No cannibalism just really nice friendly folk

    • Nige.

      “Never let the state get in the way of a good education”- Mark Twain

    • Old Dig

      They didn’t do so great when it came to conservation of the moa. Or conservation of the Moriori for that matter.

      • Boondecker

        Yep, the Maori way of hunting moa was quite simple really. Set fire to the bush and eventually the moa came running to meet their hungry recipients (moa weren’t as clever as the moriori, of course). Deforestation by fire was a very effective way of hunting. Completely destructive, but effective nonetheless. It is still used in some parts of the world today, although it became pointless and redundant here once all the moa were gobbled up.

      • Michelle

        They weren’t looking that far ahead, get a feed then sleep then get another feed

        • johcar

          True dat.

          Maori (in general) don’t have a forward-looking attitude, hence several cracks at a “full and final” settlement for Waitangi claims.

    • Oskar

      I can recall at university being told that the Maori had cleared all the land they could with the technology available to them.

      • Michelle

        Fires, not necessarily started by them but most likely by lightning but not alot else

  • Somnambulist

    John Key does a very good job of exposing the various emperors who have no clothes. Perhaps that’s why they hate him so much.

  • Nige.

    There is a reason why they are called the Conservatives. Conservation makes economic sense.

    • Mike Webber

      Agree, conservation is the wise use of the resources. Most greens are preservationists, which mostly does not make good sense.

  • Second time around

    What amazes me is not how well NZ was preserved from its first discovery by Maori until the arrival of the first white man, but how completely so few people could transform the landscape, deforesting it and changing its fauna for ever. All societies start off exploitative and it is only after the resources have become depleted that they start to worry about conservation values.

    • Disinfectant

      Those who were on Easter Island are the greatest example of precisely what happens when you chop every tree down, ate everything that lived in the forest and then found that the cold sea didn’t produce enough food. And all the while they were erecting statues to a god, at huge expenditure of energy and hoping that all would come right.
      It didn’t.

  • JeffW2

    I disagree that care for the environment is a left or right issue; clearly it is an issue the left use to stop economic growth, but in terms of sound approaches to the environment, this gains popular support only when economies have reached a good level of development, something achieved by capitalism and not by socialism. Indeed, if one looks at eastern Europe during communism, China under its single party state, the correlation between leftist economic strategies and economic degradation is clear and strong.

  • Keanne Lawrence

    No surprise to see old Frank O’Regan at the centre of this trough as he sniffs money from a long way off. Wonder if he will start crying if he can’t get his own way this time.

    • Ruahine


  • Aucky

    It doesn’t suit left wing rhetoric for the Nats to be seen to be environmentally sound. We are after all the ‘mine it, drill it, exploit it anti-Christ’. Good God we might find another couple of hundred thousand voters to join the ‘missing million’.

  • Bud

    “Green isn’t a left or right issue.”

    Well that is completely wrong; ‘green’ issues are 1% about the environment (if that), and 99% political shenanigans. No one wants to destroy the environment so unpopular and unrelated issue are tied to environmentalism to sell them. The reality is that in this day and age farmers, hunters, and fisherman care far more about the environment than the ‘environmentalists’ who are simply seeking control.