New Zealand’s key export earners – tourism and dairying – are headed for “a terrible collision” as a result of economic mismanagement, Green Party co-leader Russel Norman says.
Dr Norman said the mismanagement began with “malign neglect” under the last Labour Government and had accelerated to “active destruction” under National.
Dr Norman this morning mapped out some of the key messages the Greens will take to voters next year, principally that New Zealand’s economic future lies in protecting the environment.
“Taking care of our environment is good for our economy, it is essential to our long term prosperity.
“If we can tell this story successfully, we will change the nation’s agenda again. We will change the way New Zealand thinks about economic success and economic sovereignty.”
In what may be the start of a Green drive to differentiate itself on the left of the political spectrum, Dr Norman attacked Labour for its “legacy” of environmental damage during its previous stretch in Government, a period marked by “massive expansion in dairy and tourism”.
“Both sectors are built on clean and green but they’re heading for a terrible collision.
“Labour took advantage of clean and green as tourism boomed, but put up no fight to protect our rivers and lakes while those waterways were being overwhelmed by dairy effluent.”
Speaking at the Greens’ conference in Christchurch this weekend, Dr Norman said the city and the Canterbury area was “the frontline of New Zealand’s water wars” – a reference to the Government’s decision this year to replace Environment Canterbury’s elected councillors with hand picked commissioners. Critics including the Greens say the move was intended to ease the dairy industry’s access to the region’s water.
That and moves towards opening up the conservation estate to more mining were a return to “boom and bust” extractive industries, Dr Norman said.
Dr Norman said local production needed to be better supported and the party strongly opposed any move to privatise Kiwibank. However it accepted the needs for imports balanced by exports.
The Greens would also prioritise research, science, and technology spending in areas such as renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, green tech manufacturing, green design and energy efficiency.
Exports were dependent on New Zealand’s 100 percent pure brand, he said.
“My message today is simple; no water, no milk, no environment, no economy.”