Crack in Rena

They say politics is personal. We’re seeing a classic case of that in New Zealand at present. Despite National’s intent to sell off the country, instigate dangerous off shore deep oil drilling and continue the flow of money from the poor and middle class to the rich, the party still polls high. Why? Because John Key comes across as a genuinely nice fellow. And I suspect he is. But is that any reason to vote for his party? Is that any reason to support a party that thinks and speaks only in terms of money and seems to have forgotten there are people out here . . . and an environment?

The timing of the Rena disaster is immaculate, if we can just learn from it. Rena’s tanks contained 1,700 tonnes of oil. That has been enough to cause considerable destruction to sea life and coastlines in the Bay of Plenty. But this event is nothing compared with the scale of devastation caused by the Deepwater Horizon exploratory rig in the Gulf of Mexico last year. That rig spilt a phenomenal 650,000 tonnes of oil over a period of nearly three months, wreaking havoc on untold sea life and the coastal communities of four states.

Current plans are to drill in six deep water areas off some of New Zealand’s most spectacular pieces of coast, including the west coast of the Far North. If there were an accident the scale of Deepwater Horizon, an unimaginable outcome would await all New Zealanders. Is this what you want? Is this the legacy you wish to leave for your children?  We haven’t managed to deal effectively with the Rena calamity. How could we possibly contend with something almost 400 times worse?

I believe it is time to rethink our priorities. I believe it is time to change a consciousness beset with short term thinking to one that takes responsibility for the generations to follow. I believe it is time to reconsider your traditional voting and support a party that truly speaks for the little person and truly supports an environment on which all life depends. I believe it is time to vote Green.


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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See


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