NZ will end up just a slogan, Greens warn
Kennedy Graham … we’re danger of cheapening ourselves.
New Zealand is in danger of becoming little more than a marketing slogan that the world is starting to see through, Green Party climate change spokesman Kennedy Graham is warning.
And that, the former diplomat says, is inconsistent with the spirit of the country that led the world in votes for women, social welfare and the banning of nuclear power.
Graham leaves for the COP 18 climate change negotiations in Doha tomorrow with debate over the veracity of New Zealand’s 100% Pure slogan ringing in his ears.
Earlier this week, the New York Times, among others, reported that the New Zealand marketing slogan, currently being used in connection with promotion of The Hobbit movies, is not an accurate portrayal of New Zealand’s environmental record.
That prompted Prime Minister John Key to say that the 100% Pure slogan shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
“Overall, 100% Pure is a marketing campaign,” he said this week. “It’s like … McDonalds’ ‘I’m Lovin It!’ – I’m not sure every time someone’s eating McDonalds they’re lovin’ it. Maybe they are, but they’re probably not every single occasion. It’s the same thing with 100% Pure, it’s got to be taken with a pinch of salt.”
The New York Times article quoted Massey University ecologist Dr Mike Joy as saying there were almost two New Zealands – the “picture postcard world” and reality.
It’s not the first time comments by Joy have been quoted at Key by international journalists. Last year, during an interview with the BBC television current affairs programme HARDTalk, interviewer Stephen Sackur challenged Key over the 100% Pure claim by quoting Joy as calling New Zealand delusional over it’s clean-green image.
In that exchange, Key said that he didn’t agree with Joy’s opinion, and likened scientists to lawyers, saying he could “provide you with another one that will give you a counterview.”
Graham says that New Zealand cannot afford to ignore the criticisms of international publications and broadcasters like the New York Times, The Guardian and the BBC.
“We are in danger of cheapening ourselves,” he told Carbon News. “We are in danger of being little more than a slogan if we don’t turn things around.”
Graham says there are three world-views in the current New Zealand Parliament – the Neoliberal, market-led view that has dominated since the 1980s; the social democratic model that is now “a bit tarnished” but still has some credibility, and the ecological world view that is responding to the environmental crises of the 21st century.
“We have changed as a country,” he said. “We used to be very modest, a country that addressed problems in a practical manner, and that led to women’s enfranchisement in the 1890s, social welfare in the 1930s and the nuclear-free legislation in the 1980s.”
But since the 1980s, he says, Neoliberal ideology had dominated, promoting the kind of behaviour where “glib” comments like those made by Key in response to criticism of our environmental record were rewarded.
“And it’s no use thinking we can get away with it because we’re small,” he said. “Countries are judged not by their size, but by the qualities of their policies.”
Story copyright © Carbon News 2012