This is the second time perennial loon Rachel Stewart and I agree on something

The first time was when we both agreed getting death threats wasn’t fun.

Imagine you’re a foreign tourist. Why would you, over any other destination, spend your moolah coming to “clean, green, 100% Pure” New Zealand when it isn’t? Our rivers, lakes and streams are already ecologically failing so, what’s left to ooh and aah at? Oh, yes, the jam-packed, “you need to make a booking” Great Walks, and all sponsored by … you fill in the blanks.

This week we’ve learned that the Department of Conservation is working closely with the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment on a somewhat unusual venture. Actually, it’s insane, but that minor detail won’t stop it happening. It’s investigating the prospect of branding Karamea as “Moa Town” and using a giant moa installation to attract visitors. The plan includes developing a display of moa and Haast’s eagles at Oparara Caves, with a possible light show, positioning them as “new products” for the West Coast.

Yes, just like the township of Bulls has a plethora of plastic-looking bulls displayed up and down its main drag, Karamea may be destined to join the tourism tack-fest too – sans the sizeable scrotums.

Who, in their right mind, thinks this a good idea? If tourists want that, they usually go to Disneyland, or Te Papa. Aside from the fact that being in nature usually means, you know, being in nature. For everything else, there’s the internet. Or Florida.

Don’t even get me started on what DoC’s core statutory duty is, and how well that’s going. Yes, that’s right. Conservation.

But I guess when 800 native species are currently classified as threatened and faced with extinction, and the funding for saving them just isn’t there, you may as well get on board with the theme park idea. Life is a rollercoaster.

I certainly believe we need to change our tourism to one where there are fewer visitors that spend more money.  We are already full to the brim.  A bit like immigration, we can’t just keep flying in planeloads of people when the natural  infrastructure can not be expanded.  It is a finite, and in some places, stressed resource.


– Rachel Stewart, NZ Herald


Do you want:

  • Ad-free access?
  • Access to our very popular daily crossword?
  • Access to daily sudoku?
  • Access to Incite Politics magazine articles?
  • Access to podcasts?
  • Access to political polls?

Our subscribers’ financial support is the reason why we have been able to offer our latest service; Audio blogs. 

Click Here  to support us and watch the number of services grow.

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.