It takes someone as stuck in the ’50s as Don Brash to remind us how tenuously New Zealand clings to its ‘clean, green’ image!

Here’s the lead paragraph from a report in the latest Farmers Weekly on Brash’s ‘fact-finding’ amongst NZ farmers …

“New ACT Party leader Don Brash says he is convinced that Resource Management Act (RMA) compliance is the biggest single obstacle to economic growth in New Zealand.”

I can think of probably ten real obstacles that impede NZ growth, without getting anywhere near the RMA. [Watch for the new BayBuzz magazine in two weeks for that case.]

Brash makes Bill English look like Al Gore!

HBRC Councillor Ewan McGregor, always grasping for straws in his quest to establish that Hawke’s Bay is plenty enough clean and green, pointed me to the latest ‘we’re fine’ editorial in the NZ Herald. The Herald editorial more or less says … Hey, we might not really be clean and green, but in a world of imagery and spin, it’s the thought that counts. Here’s what the Herald says about the “100% Pure” mantra of NZ: “Effective marketing slogans, as this one is, can seldom be taken literally. They need to convey an essential truth, not a precise one.” Good try.

It’s understandable that an old-timer like Brash doesn’t understand the reach and clout of global communications, but it is surprising that a media professional at the Herald doesn’t get it. No brand anywhere on the planet that fudges reality will get away with it. ‘Clean, green’ NZ will be no exception.

Councillor McGregor urges me to take the Herald editorial as an effective rebuttal to critic Dr Mike Joy, senior lecturer, Environmental Science/Ecology at Massey, who recently wrote (in the Herald) an article titled The Dying Myth of a Clean, Green Aotearoa.

OK, let me weigh this up.

On the one hand, an editorial writer at the Herald, who views the NZ environment from his/her cubicle (or maybe corner office) in some high-rise in Auckland, versus Dr Joy, who spends all his waking hours (supported by his student assistants) either in the field wading around in mucked up NZ watersheds or analyzing the data thus collected.

Who do I find more credible?! More importantly — read both articles — who do you find more credible?

So I thank Dr Brash for reminding us just how hard we must keep working to secure a sustainable future for New Zealand.

Tom Belford

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