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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Is clean water the new oil?

One of the things we did on Queen's Birthday holiday was explore some of the Auckland Festival of Photography exhibitions. One of the most telling (and disturbing) was the one entitled: Oil & Water: Is clean water the new oil? It was at Depot Artspace, 28 Clarence St, Devonport. The photos were of many of NZ's rivers and lakes - beautiful photos. But the information panels beside each photo told a devastating story of how many of these beautiful places are polluted and dying. This is happening right now, in our own country. What has happened to our 100% Pure, Godzone?? And what can we do about it?
Lake Spectacle by Murray Lloyd
I've been a Green Party member for many years and listened with interest to the newly elected Co-leader James Shaw as he made his first speech on Sunday. If you want to read the whole speech click here. But below is an excerpt from it with italics added by me. If you don't think National or Labour are up for the challenges ahead, there is an alternative - give the Green Party some serious thought.
"The reality of politics in the wake of the global financial crisis is that there is no longer a struggle between capitalism and socialism.
 What we have now is a hybrid model that takes some of the good but most of the bad elements of both systems. We have an economy where profits are privatised but the risks - and the social and environmental costs - of that profit are socialised.
Paid for by the state. By the people.
It’s an economy based on rational irresponsibility. It encourages people and companies to extract as much short term wealth as they can, from the environment or from their workers, regardless of the damage they cause, because they don’t have to pay for it.
 Everyone else does. Now and for many generations.
There’s no name for this system that we now live under. It’s not capitalism or neoliberalism. And it’s not conservatism.
It’s not conservative to destroy all of your rivers and streams, and mine your oceans and national parks. It is definitely not compassionate conservatism. There’s nothing compassionate about the rapid extinction of our native species. And it’s not compassionate or conservative to subsidise businesses to damage the atmosphere of the planet that we’re living on.
 There is no name for this system.
 Nobody speaks for it. Nobody voted for it.
It happens in the spaces between speeches and elections.
It happens behind closed doors or over dinner with lobbyists.
We have a political economy of friendly deals and whispers. 
Of overnight polling and focus groups.
The government is supposed to help those who need help the most, not those who need it the least. Those who have little, not those who already have everything, and always want more, and more, and more. 
My opposition to our current, deliberately broken economic system is not ideological. It is moral.       I oppose it because it is wrong."