Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Climate change: not just about cows

Today the government released the Briefing to the Incoming Minister for the tourism portfolio. Tourism, according to the BIM, brings in $8.8 billion a year, or around 5% of our annual GDP. As the briefing [PDF] points out, our perceived environmental performance gives us a competitive edge, attracting tourists to spend their money in the New Zealand market. And climate change poses a significant challenge to this. The Ministry briefing focuses on the risks of emissions reduction policy increasing costs and decreasing long-distance tourism. The briefing from Tourism New Zealand [PDF] is more explicit:

As New Zealand is a long haul destination for most visitors, it is at particular risk from increasing concerns about climate change. In conjunction with this, the 100% Pure brand means tourists visit with set expectations regarding the way New Zealand is managing the environment. It is therefore necessary for New Zealand to deal with environmental concerns and make the changes necessary to ensure that our environmental performance matches our rhetoric in our international marketing campaign.
(Emphasis added)

Whoops! To channel Jon Stewart, I'd love to be a fly on the wall when the new Minister for Tourism chews the new Prime Minister a new one over what his stupid pandering to ACT's climate change denialists is going to do to his portfolio... oh.

What this shows us is that the consequences of National's "review" could be far reaching, and are not just limited to cows. At last count, they've put over $12 billion in export earnings under threat. If Labour had done that, National would have been screaming (remember the hissy fit they threw over our refusing to send NZ troops to die in Bush's war in Iraq?) But I guess like so many other things, economic sabotage is OK if you're a tory.