Listen to tourism lobby, not just Fonterra
10 September 2008
Listen to tourism lobby, not just Fonterra, Mr Mallard
Greens Co-Leader Russel Norman is urging Environment Minister Trevor Mallard to take as much notice of tourism industry lobbying as he has of lobbying by polluters in recent months.
The Tourism Industry Association has issued a Tourism Industry Election Manifesto today which lists "Improving New Zealand's Environmental Performance" as one of six government priorities. It says the tourism industry "cannot deliver on New Zealand's 100% Pure brand promise on its own".
Says Dr Norman, "This comes at the same time as some of our farming and regional media are condemning the Government's freshwater policies. Compared to city media, these newspapers and radio stations are closest to increasingly-polluted waterways, one of New Zealand's biggest environmental concerns of the moment.
"The Rural News website in a September 2 article says Mr Mallard's 'recently outlined [Proposed] National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management demonstrates an abject failure in leadership' and is a 'spineless consultation document' and an August 29 article on the same website says New Zealand dirty dairying is now 'gaining international notoriety' with coverage in both the United States and Britain."
Also on September 2, a business story in the Waikato Times headed "Action urged on 'dirty dairying'" describes how former Fonterra Shareholders' Council member and multimillionaire Allan Crafar has been prosecuted four times for dirty dairying in the Waikato and is due to appear in court for two other alleged offences.
"Mr Mallard is fiddling while our waterways burn with pollution," Dr Norman says. "As the 82,000 circulation Rural News said on August 5, the Minister's new freshwater policies were 'toothless' and he was 'ducking for cover' after a 'powerful consortium of agriculture interests' lobbied him.
"Luckily the Government's Proposed National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management released in July is still open for change and the Minister could decide to keep Labour's promise to make all water bodies safe for swimming within a generation.
"He could add specific dates and defined water quality standards to the document so all regional councils have a clear mandate to clamp down hard against effluent pollution. Not all councils are doing so now. But will he listen to those with '100% Pure' branding interests, or only to Fonterra?"
Note: Dr Norman is speaking on this issue in General Debate later this afternoon.