Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Paying the price

The Herald this morning quotes Tourism Research Institute director Simon Milne as being concerned about the risk the government's plans to dig up our national parks pose to our "100% Pure" brand and our $20 billion a year tourism industry. The plan is likely to be noticed by international media, causing fallout for the tourism industry.

It's already started. The Economist today has an article which highlights and criticises the move as part of a broader attack on NZ's green credentials:

In February, the government revealed it was considering opening some of the country’s pristine public land up for mining—an activity to which the dwarves in “The Hobbit” are much given, but which is not popular with more elvish sensibilities. Energetic lobbying by environmental groups forced it to scale back the amount of land under consideration, but on March 22nd it announced that it still intended to open 7,000 hectares of conservation land to mining, with other conservation areas to be surveyed for their mineral potential.
The article also attacks the present government's focus on road building, its gutting of the RMA, and its anaemic ETS which gives massive subsidies to polluters and gives dairy farmers - our biggest greenhouse polluter - a free ride until 2015.

The Economist is influential. The piece is likely to be picked up by other media, resulting in exactly the effects Milne warned about. Way to go, National!