08 September 2009

100% pure New Zealand


Since 1999, Tourism New Zealand has marketed Aotearoa as "100% Pure New Zealand". However, our agriculture is still primarily conventional, relying heavily on non-organic fertilisers and pesticides, and despite the good efforts of some farmers, the impacts of pastoral farming on our rivers and lakes are shameful. This helicopter spent a couple of hours this morning spraying the farm near my place. I don't know what it was spraying, but the Teawaoteatua stream just below my place certainly got a dose (in addition to the nutrients it also receives from the cattle that wade freely through it).

I don't want to get into the "organic" vs conventional farming debate, but it strikes me that "100% Pure" falls short of an accurate description. Sure, it looks beautiful (in many areas it's simply breathtaking), but even that's under threat from creeping "development" in the form of such things as proposed hydroelectric power schemes on rivers like the Mokihinui and Hurunui, and, most recently, the proposal by our Energy and Resources Minister to remove protection from some of our most valuable conservation areas to allow the potential for mining.

I could go on — the list of threats to our environment, particularly under the current economic-development focused Government, is depressingly long — but I think I'll leave it at that. I still think Aotearoa must be one of the most wonderful places on the planet, but if you think you'll ever want to visit, do it soon. It's not getting better.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor


Ruahines said...

Kia ora Pete,
Not to mention Contact Energy rapidly gaining momentum for up to 4 hydro schemes on the Clutha, one of the largest and most scenic south island rivers, if not one of the world's finest rivers.
It is depressing and each day National becomes the nightmare so many feared.
We have to fight the insanity as best we can. Kia kaha.

the watercats said...

it's so sad to hear this... you're right, New Zealand is pictured by the rest of the world as being 'sussed'.. clued up to environmental issues.. but apparantly suffers as much from greed as any other country.. I can't help but think the whole world is fecked! :-(

pohanginapete said...

Robb, you're right. We must do what we can, and not lose hope; even if we feel we're losing ground, giving up means we'll lose it even faster. Thanks for the support.

Watercats, you might be right too, I'm afraid. How many people feel strongly enough about the problem to alter their lifestyles in ways that, collectively, will make enough of a difference?