Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A fundamental difference of perspectives

Yesterday in Question Time, during a question over irrigation in Canterbury, John Key said the following:

Hon JOHN KEY: Yes, I do agree that there is pressure on the aquifers in the Canterbury region. The way to resolve that is potentially to build greater water storage, so that less pressure is on those aquifers, and less of the water that currently pours out to sea continues to do so.
Key (echoing Federated Farmers) sees water "pour[ing] out to sea" and sees money wasted. The rest of us see a river - a place to swim, play, fish, or just look at. You don't get a more fundamental difference of perspectives than this.

If Key had his way, there would be no rivers - all that water would be fed to cows and turned into milk, rather than being "wasted". This would destroy their environmental, recreational and amenity values. The benefits of this destruction would go directly to a handful of rich farmers, who would effectively be allowed to privatise a public resource. The rest of us would suffer a real and substantial loss as our water is effectively privatised for the benefit of a few.

This is why National wants to destroy Canterbury's democracy: to privatise its water for the benefit of his rich mates. We cannot let this happen. But if they take the vote of us, and remove the decision from the oversight of the people, what can we do about it?