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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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.