Tourism New Zealand has proudly announced a $23 million extension of its international marketing campaign built around selling the image of “100% Pure” New Zealand.

Apparently the marketing team hasn’t visited Hawke’s Bay lately.

Or else, while taking the wine, garden and art tours, their charter bus somehow missed our region’s more egregious environmental flaws …

  • A Tuki Tuki River too polluted to swim in safely
  • The “coming soon” Pizza Hut sign down at Ocean Beach
  • The belching smokestack over at Ravensdown Fertiliser
  • The forlorn concrete blocks vainly trying to resist the sea at Haumoana
  • Uninspired urban sprawl spreading across the Heretaunga plains (to be followed by “big box” shopping)
  • The breathtaking new architecture on Reynolds Road in Havelock North

One would think that politicians (and marketers) who are so keen to capitalize upon the “clean green” image of the region and country would be fanatically obsessed with protecting the natural assets that underpin that image. After all, while it’s morally upright to provide a natural legacy for our children and grandchildren, it’s even possible to make money by being green as well.

The reality is that our region’s ecology and natural assets are fragile and under assault.

The most important question we can ask candidates for local office over the coming campaign season is: “What have you done — and what will you do — to protect those assets?” Incumbent officeholders most especially need to be held into account for actions — or inactions — that are compromising the environmental integrity of Hawke’s Bay.

And as for Tourism New Zealand, maybe they should be hauled up before the Commerce Commission … truth in advertising is protected by regulation, after all.

Nobody — neither local nor tourist — likes being conned.

“Clean green” … “100 Pure” … Yeah, right!

Tom

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