Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Upton-on-line - From Hanover

Upton-on-line June 22nd


A very short edition, since upton-on-line comes to you this week from Hannover. (No, not Hamilton, Hannover in Germany with which New Zealanders now have a deeply shared affinity flowing from a common electoral system).

It has been the occasion of a Global Dialogue on sustainable development to which upton-on-line was invited as a result of past lives on the environment circuit. It has been a very European sort of event - much dialogue, and a great deal of angst-ridden philosophising. All an acquired taste with which upton-on-line will not weary his to-the-point kiwi readers.

But he can report that New Zealand's flag was proudly flown by Joan Pollock from (somewhere south of) Gisborne. Joan founded the Eco 2000 Trust which is dedicated to achieving sustainable land use practices in the soft, sliding mudstone country in New Zealand's eastern-most outpost.

Discarding 'safe' advice from government agencies, Joan socked it to them about what's happened since Cyclone Bola. The fact that really hit her audience between the eyes was Joan's explanation that the East Coast region contributes one percent of all the sediment reaching the world's oceans. One percent of New Zealand's sediment, surely, people asked? No. One percent of global sediment.

It was far and away one of the most compelling presentations and Joan did a really good selling job for plantation forestry along the way.

The dialogue took place in the heart of Expo 2000 - a wasteland of asphalt, concrete and vast hangars. The general effect was a cross between Disneyland and a 1970s trade fair. Upton-on-line feels the last government's decision not to spend tens of millions building a pavilion in the middle of the North German plain has been well and truly vindicated.

Somehow the whole place had a tired, out-moded feel about it. The truth is that Expos must be a thing of the past. In a world of mass travel and the internet, the idea of rushing off to a theme park of nation states seems completely outdated. Upton-on-line's jaundiced view wasn't helped by temperatures in the mid-30s. (And to have complained about the lack of air conditioning at an environmental forum concerned - amongst other things - with global warming would have been a little gauche …).

New Zealand's physical absence did not hamper our profile amongst delegates to the Global Dialogue, however. Upton-on-line was set upon by a genial professor from a German think tank wanting urgent reassurance that New Zealand was not dismantling its reforms. I could provide no comfort - the end was nigh, I said, assuming he was a fellow traveller on the Right.

But not a bit of it. He was a staunch Social Democrat who claimed he had been trying to persuade his state Prime Minister (also a socialist) to "take up the New Zealand model". The poor man was almost beside himself when I explained the ideological counter-revolution currently being master-minded by New Zealand's Old Labour. Living amidst the inflexibilities of the German system he could not believe we were so stupid. I explained that we are a very innovative and experimental people. Constantly veering from one side of the spectrum to the other keeps us battle-hardened, match fit and so on!

Helen Clark also had a profile as a result of her Berlin blitz. Apparently, her photo occupied a good third of the front page of a Berlin newspaper under the heading "I am not Bill Clinton". Bemused readers felt this was fairly obvious (and upton-on-line has previously explained that there is no danger of ideological confusion either). It appears that she stepped out of a car that was expected to be carrying Clinton. Her helpful clarification appealed to the uniquely Teutonic sense of humour. People are still earnestly chortling.

To subscribe - visit http://www.arcadia.co.nz
or e-mail adrienne.frew@parliament.govt.nz

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The New Pike River Agency (And The Air Strike Wing)

Much of the sympathy the public still feels for the families of the Pike River miners has been sustained by the sense that the previous government – let alone the mining company and the processes of receivership and litigation – has never dealt honestly, or fairly, with them.

Finally, yesterday’s announcement by the Ardern government that a new state agency will be set up to assess and plan the manned re-entry to the mine (on a set timetable) goes a long way to meeting the families’ remaining request: that they be enabled, if at all possible, to bury their loved ones. More>>

 

Not Going Swimmingly: Contractor Cut, New Dates For Christchurch Sports Centre

“As an incoming Minister, I have been conducting a thorough review of progress on the Anchor projects and to learn of a $75 million budget blowout on this project was very disappointing..." More>>

ALSO:

Tertiary: Allowances, Loan Living Costs To Get Boost

“From 1 January, student allowance base rates and the maximum amount students can borrow for living costs will rise by a net $50 a week,” says Education Minister Chris Hipkins... further adjusted from 1 April 2018 in line with any increase in the CPI. More>>

ALSO:

Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>

Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>

ALSO:

Parental Leave: National's Time-Sharing Change Fails

National has proposed a change to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill that would allow both parents to take paid parental leave at the same time, if that is what suits them best. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election