Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Fact and fantasy

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  • Paul Williams, in reply to BenWilson,

    He could and should have said he would do something about it

    I recall he did, however limited that was.

    (and also, more importantly, he should do something about it).

    Agreed.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2191 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Paul Williams,

    Agreed.

    Or, of course, the voters of NZ could do something about it. That's the sad bit about the howling down of environmental criticism here - it's got a lot of support.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    As Stuff columnist Nicola Toki put it last week:
    Let me dumb it down a little for the Mark Unsworths of this world. It is not people like Mike Joy who are “risking jobs and incomes from decreased tourism to New Zealand”. It is our own mucky, degrading habits, and a lax approach to environmental care and regulation, most notably taken by the current government.

    This will need something to back it up. The current Government is taking a slightly less stringent approach to the "taxing" of greenhouse emissions. I know of no change to our environmental regulations under the current government that would make it easier for, for example, our agricultural sector to be more polluting of lowland waterways.

    Perhaps Ms Toki (or someone else here) can point me to some regulatory changes made by the current government that make the matters complained of here, worse?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2988 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Perhaps Ms Toki (or someone else here) can point me to some regulatory changes made by the current government that make the matters complained of here, worse?

    She appears to do so at some length in the next paragraph of her column. Did you bother to read it?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • ben thompson,

    Wow - at least our media is as balanced as our governments attitude towards the environment. Kia kaha Mike.

    Since Jul 2010 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris,

    New Zealand 100% pure? Yeah right.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Russell Brown,

    She appears to do so at some length in the next paragraph of her column. Did you bother to read it?

    I have read it. It lists one matter germane to the point I am making, which links, in effect, to a Green Party press release on a policy that hasn't been enacted.

    I cannot see this this announcement can have caused dirty rivers.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2988 posts Report Reply

  • llew40,

    I've got no quarrel with Mike Joy, who is one of the messengers in an important debate that NZ has to have, but I do lament the way that the debate has been unfolding.

    A couple of laments;

    There is an element in our media culture (Gordon MacLaughlin may argue it is inherent in kiwi culture) that wants to scour the world looking for negative perceptions to highlight back to ourselves. Our rugby media is a great example.

    Whatever the merits of those offshore perceptions, the reality is that they are usually centred on issues all countries are grappling with.

    I also lament the way in which NZ tourism seems to have become a lightning rod for much of this debate. After all, while it is one of our (if not the) largest export industries, I would argue that tourism, per se, is not the major contributing industry to environmental standards.

    The issue seems to be partly (largely?) about the '100% Pure' slogan. Conceived many years ago for solely tourism purposes, it’s been a particularly powerful tourism brand that other countries tourism organisations have openly admired and envied. It’s been a major reason for tourism growth in NZ, and for why NZ is frequently cited offshore as a desirable destination. But even at the time it was developed it was recognised that it should not be interpreted by other industries as a literal guarantee.

    Over many years, the '100% Pure' has been co-opted by many other NZ industries and interests, for purposes far beyond its original conception. Yet tourism (in my view) unfairly seems to wear much of the flack of inevitable ire when environmental eality collides with brand promise.

    Since Nov 2012 • 37 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    I cannot see this this announcement can have caused dirty rivers.

    It might help to address what she actually wrote. The paragraph you're complaining about doesn't mention rivers but laments "a lax approach to environmental care and management" on the part of the government.

    In the next paragraph she cites multiple examples, which you discount because they're mostly not about freshwater waterways, which she didn't mention in the paragraph you're unhappy with.

    But if it's waterways you're after, the criticisms of ministers' actions in the Listener editorial and the Gareth Morgan column -- which concludes by lamenting "yet another demonstration of the National cabinet’s open hostility to environmental protection" -- would seem to have substance.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Curran, in reply to llew40,

    There is an element in our media culture (Gordon MacLaughlin may argue it is inherent in kiwi culture) that wants to scour the world looking for negative perceptions to highlight back to ourselves. Our rugby media is a great example.

    Whatever the merits of those offshore perceptions, the reality is that they are usually centred on issues all countries are grappling with.

    True, but the fact that everyone else is dealing with these issues is no reason not to put our own house in order though. And it's not necessarily a bad thing that we look overseas for someone else to highlight our flaws.

    It's like the country has a little voice of in the back of it's head (Joy et. al.) telling us we need to take a bath. The little voice is being steadfastly ignored until someone else actually turns around and tells us we stink.

    Since May 2011 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • llew40, in reply to Ben Curran,

    Lol - the best analogy for cultural cringe I've heard.

    Since Nov 2012 • 37 posts Report Reply

  • Stripe,

    The truth is, there are plenty of people who would like to see Dr Mike Joy silenced.

    that's what this site is all about, isn't it? Silencing people you don't like. ;)

    Taipei, Taiwan • Since Jul 2011 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The "100%" tagline is topical because of its trumpeting in Hobbit-related promotion - including imagery of tourists frolicking in rivers that clashes with the recent reports about 50% of our waterways being too polluted for that.

    I can imagine that may have got up Dr Joy's nose, especially with the ongoing government-backed shennanigans around his filthy local Manawatu River, as Gareth Morgan's article noted.

    Our unsustainable environmental practices go back far further, but it's quite fair for people to point to our current government gutting the ETS, making pro-development changes to our RMA and Local Government laws, canning the State of the Environment reports and pulling out of Kyoto, then wonder how our diminished reputation will affect both tourism and export markets looking for any excuse to block our goods. Trade Minister Groser was apoplectic on the 6pm news last night about the 'treachery' of discussing this. He and his 'shoot-the-messenger' colleagues do not seem to have been thinking it through.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16277 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    on a policy that hasn't been enacted

    People do respond to announced intent, not just implementation - even lawyers.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16277 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Grevers,

    Of course the agency argues they meant New Zealand is 100% pure New Zealand (plus you, O monied tourist). But they and the government are apparently quite happy for the meaning to be mistaken.

    But even that is a falsehood. Our fertility is being imported from Morocco (go and read about peak phosphorus) - because we've already wreaked devestation upon Nauru. And the grass grown is increasingly supplemened by palm kernel at the expense of the endemic forests of south asia. We pride ourselves on being good farmers, yet that is laughable. Many "peasant" farmers in Asia have been getting many times greater yield from their land, and have been doing so for up to 4000 years with no external inputs.
    Which is the better slogan: NZ - 100% pure greenwash, or 100% pure bullshit?

    New Plymouth • Since Jul 2011 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Richard Grevers,

    100% pure bullshit?

    To be fair, it's probably more cowshit than bullshit.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3411 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Richard Grevers,

    But even that is a falsehood.

    It's all marketing, though. I have to admit that having the Prime Minister of the country publicly compare New Zealand with a globally respected Americanised fast food chain was a stroke of genius in countering criticism of the 100% pure claim. Problem solved!

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Stripe,

    that’s what this site is all about, isn’t it? Silencing people you don’t like. ;)

    Do tell.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    The “100%” tagline is topical because of its trumpeting in Hobbit-related promotion – including imagery of tourists frolicking in rivers that clashes with the recent reports about 50% of our waterways being too polluted for that.

    I can imagine that may have got up Dr Joy’s nose

    Sorta, maybe. But as I noted, the actual quotes in the NYT story were given months ago to a reporter from a different paper. The Herald's response mentions the timing of the remarks, but the timing wasn't actually Joy's.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    the timing wasn't actually Joy's.

    yes, fair point.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16277 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Do tell.

    That post made me start mentally singing a Tori Amos song. Uncool, inexplicable complaining guy. UNCOOL.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3623 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Danielle,

    That post made me start mentally singing a Tori Amos song.

    You think that's bad? Russell's reply gave me a Greg Johnson earworm.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 799 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Which was mangled in the editorial thus:

    Russell, maybe it's been noticed, but the text of the Herald's mangled editorial seems to have spread uncredited to something suspiciously similar in the Fairfax world, though they cut off the worst bits.

    In relation to what he told the NYT: "Joy told the newspaper the reality of New Zealand's environmental record came nowhere close to matching the 100% Pure brand."

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I made an 'against the trend' comment on this at the time saying something along the lines of "what else could he have done"? The PM's got to be a spokesperson for NZ. I understand the validity of criticising him and his government for not doing more to address the problems, but I can't think what else a PM should do when there is criticism of the country in international media other than to to try to counter it (however valid).

    I'd be happy with the PM responding to the original BBC interview by saying "yeah, it's a marketing thing, obviously we're not 100% pure, we do have some serious issues, and here's some things we're working on to be better.... [list a couple of the weak as things that National is actually doing], but NZ is still a beautiful country, scenery, fantastic tourism etc and we encourage the world to come experience it".

    That to me would be a fair line for a National Party PM who isn't very pro-environment to be taking.

    I find his inability in the face of the science to admit that there's a problem frustrating. You can admit that climate change is a problem and not do anything about it, why can't you do that with rivers?

    Good on Mike Joy for doing his job, hope the interview goes well Russell.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6148 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to James Butler,

    a Greg Johnson earworm

    pickled :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16277 posts Report Reply

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